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Nursing home residents' rights under state and federal laws

New Mexico residents have certain rights and protections when they are admitted into a nursing home. The rights of nursing home residents are enforced under federal and state laws. Federal law protects nursing home residents who are recipients of Medicare. The nursing home must explain these rights in writing to the person being admitted. The nursing home must also explain in writing the responsibilities of the resident. The resident has to acknowledge being given this information in writing.

The nursing home resident has the rights to receive proper medical care and to be treated with respect. The resident can make their own schedule and decide when they want to sleep, wake up and eat their meals. The resident can participate in any of the activities designed for them and other residents. The nursing home should not discriminate against any person and must comply with all laws, but they don't have to accept every person into their nursing home. Also, the nursing home cannot use restraints on any resident for the convenience of the nursing home staff or in order to discipline them.

Another important right that the residents of a nursing home have is the right to be free from neglect and abuse. Sometimes residents of the nursing homes can be neglected sexually, mentally or physically, and their property or money may be misused by the home. If the nursing home mistreats a resident, isolates them from others or neglects them, strict action can be taken against the nursing home.

Reports of nursing home neglect and abuse should be made to the nursing home administrator. Authorities, including state agencies or Adult Protective Services will investigate these reports. According to the law, the nursing home should report any suspected violations and injuries within five days of the incident. In some cases a victim of nursing home negligence can also file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the nursing home.

Source: Medicare.gov, "What are my rights & protections in a nursing home?," Accessed on Aug. 26, 2014

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