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Nursing Home Rights
and Your Loved Ones
By Nathan J. Wills

Dennis Seaman & Associates

As the "Greatest Generation" ages, and as the first of the Baby Boom Generation turns 60, an increasingly large part of the population must recognize that they or their parents might one day seek treatment in a nursing home.

When a resident of a long-term care facility is abused or neglected, however, the nursing home may have been negligent.

A Resident's Rights

State and Federal governments have enunciated policies protecting the elderly, who often are unable to protect themselves. In Ohio, R.C. 3712.13 articulates a resident's rights regarding long-term care facilities.

  • The right to be free from abuse
  • The right to make reasonably informed choices concerning their medications
  • The right to be treated with respect
  • The right to have your privacy respected
  • The right to have virtually unlimited access to your family
  • The right to receive medical care of your choice
  • The right to have your advanced directives honored
  • The right to perform activities of daily living (ADL's)
  • The right to choose your dining habits and diet
  • The right to retain some of your personal possessions
  • The right to maintain the lifestyle to which you have come accustomed
  • The right to have your immediate needs met

What Should I Do If My or My Loved Ones' Rights are Violated?

1) Act quickly - You may only have one (1) year in which to take action.

2) Report the abuse - Contact the County Department of Job and Family Services or the Ohio Department of Health. These organizations may investigate the potential abuse and may fine the facility.

3) Consider consulting with an attorney - When an elderly person's rights are violated, or when an elderly person is abused, that person and their family may need to consult with an attorney to enforce their rights.

If your loved one was the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, you may feel "guilt" associated with your loved one's injuries.

You should not feel guilty - you placed your loved one, and your trust, in someone else's care because you were unable to care for the elderly person, because your loved one needed additional help with Activities of Daily Living, or because your loved one was unsafe in his or her own home.

The nursing home violated that trust. You are just as much a victim as your loved one. Long-care facilities that break the law should be held accountable for their actions.

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