old folks exercisingIn an effort to bring federal nursing home rules up-to-date, the Department of Health and Human Services proposed sweeping changes to existing rules that are designed to help promote “patient-centered care.”  These new changes are set to go into effect in three phases, with the first phase already having occurred in November 2016. Not only are many of these changes designed to give nursing home residents greater control over their care, but also to protect residents from nursing home abuse.

Summary of Nursing Home Rule Changes

Some of the more significant changes to existing rules include:

  • Residents should be permitted to have meals and snacks at times other than designated meal times and should be permitted to choose their own roommates. Not only this, but residents should be permitted to receive visitors during non-traditional visiting hours so long as such visitations do not interfere with the rights of other residents.
  • Residents cannot be discharged from a nursing home if they are appealing the decision to discharge.  If the discharge is for non-payment and the resident has applied for Medicaid, private insurance, and/or is waiting for a payment decision to be made or to appeal the denial of a claim, the nursing home cannot involuntarily discharge the resident.  Not only this, documentation regarding any involuntary discharge must be sent to the state long-term care ombudsman for review.
  • If the resident is returning to the nursing home following a hospital stay, the resident should be permitted to return to the same room he or she had before he or she entered the hospital (if the room is available).
  • Nursing homes are prohibited from hiring licensed professionals who have been disciplined for abusing, neglecting, or mistreating nursing home residents in the past. The definition of “abuse” has now been expanded to include financial exploitation as well as physical and sexual abuse.  
  • Finally, nursing homes are directed to hire and adequately staff their facilities so that residents’ needs are adequately met (although each facility is left to determine for itself what level of staffing is adequate.

nursing home bingoOf course, while the Department of Health and Human Services may have promulgated these rule changes with the best of intentions, it falls to each nursing home facility to implement these changes and ensure they are carried out.

Reach Out to Case Barnett Law with Your Concerns

The law offices of Case Barnett Law are committed to helping Californians whose loved ones are being abused, neglected, or otherwise mistreated recover compensation for their loved ones’ injuries and take steps to protect their family members from additional harm. Our team of dedicated Costa Mesa personal injury attorneys has the experience and resources to thoroughly investigate claims of nursing home abuse and uncover whether your loved one’s nursing home facility violated any government rules and, if so, we can advise you as to your loved one’s rights. Contact Case Barnett Law at (949) 861-2990 to discuss your case today, or complete our online contact form for assistance.

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