Laws Protecting Nursing Home Residents in California

Laws Protecting Nursing Home Residents in CaliforniaNursing home residents in California have rights. Some of those rights are established by federal regulations. However, there are also California-specific requirements that nursing homes must meet to ensure they are providing their residents with the level and type of care they need.

If you or your family member live in a nursing home and did not receive care that aligns with these rights, it is essential to reach out to a nursing home abuse attorney. Our attorneys at Garcia & Artigliere are ready to help you do that.

Nursing home resident rights in California

The California Department of Public Health offers a comprehensive document, Nursing Home Residents’ Rights, which outlines the regulations that all nursing homes in the state must abide by to ensure residents receive quality care. There are 17 different categories:

1.         Admissions Rights

2.         Quality of Life

3.         Visitors

4.         Privacy and Confidentiality

5.         Choosing How to Spend Your Time

6.         Grievances

7.         Participation in Groups and Activities

8.         Living Accommodations

9.         Quality Care

10.   Protection of Money and Possessions

11.   Medical Care and Treatment

12.   Freedom from Abuse

13.   Transfer and Discharge Rights

14.   Resident Records

15.   Free Choice

16.   Participation in Care Planning

17.   Freedom from Physical and Chemical Restraints

The non-profit group California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR) provides a breakdown of the exact laws (state and federal) affecting each category here.

To help document some of the most common areas where we see residents suffer significant injury, take a closer look at some of the specific applications of these and other rights.

Meeting your personal assistance needs

One of the rights a person in a nursing home has is the right to support their personal daily activities, including ensuring medical and other needs are met, supporting their ability to move from one area to the next, and the right to get help. The nursing home must provide:

  • A nurse call system
  • Toileting and bathing facilities in the room
  • Provide a timely response to calls or explain why they cannot, and do so in a courteous manner

Right to informed consent for medical treatment

Nursing home residents must also provide clear information to the resident or other party about any treatment being provided to them. A resident must be given the right to agree to or deny the procedure or treatment. If that person cannot, then a representative must give that right through a Power of Attorney for Health Care. The resident should understand why this is needed, what will happen, what the side effects are, and what the risks are.

Right to be safe from abuse

The resident has the right to be free from all forms of abuse. This is defined, under California law, as the following:

  • Physical abuse: hitting, striking, pinching, pushing, grabbing, shaking, slapping, or otherwise being handled in a rough manner, as well as any type of prolonged, excessive, or inappropriate use of physical restraints or medications to control behavior.
  • Verbal abuse: yelling, swearing, calling, belittling, intimidating, frightening, or threatening a person in any way
  • Sexual abuse: Sexual contact, harassment, coercion, or assault; there should never be any sexual-related contact between a resident and a staff member
  • Emotional abuse: Belittling, creating shae or fear in a resident, threatening punishment, threatening eviction, or encouraging payment for favors or attention; no encouragement of purchasing gifts for staff
  • Financial abuse: Theft of money or property or any use of personal funds without permission from the resident, including charging items for services that are already included in the daily rate or anything not requested by the resident
  • Neglect: Ignoring, not providing medical or personal care, treating a resident with indifference, not providing adequate food or liquids, not offering shelter and clothing, or providing a lack of protection from health or safety standards
  • Isolation: seclusion, not being able to meet with visitors, limited privacy with visitors, callers, or intercepting mail

These are all examples of abuse that is considered illegal to anyone who is in a nursing home in California. If you or your family member suffered any of these losses, it is critical to seek out immediate legal support.

What rights are nursing home residents guaranteed under federal law?

The following are some of the basic civil rights or human rights and liberties that must be met by nursing homes in any state, under federal law:

  • Freedom from physical and chemical restraints
  • Participation in care planning
  • Free choice
  • Resident records
  • Freedom from abuse
  • Transfer and discharge rights
  • Protection of money and possessions
  • Right to medical care and treatment
  • Right to quality of life
  • Right to visitors
  • Right to make decisions on how to spend your time
  • Right to form grievances
  • Right to participate in groups and activities
  • Right to quality living accommodations
  • Right to quality care
  • Right to privacy and confidentiality

We take the rights of California nursing home residents seriously. If you were hurt or otherwise abused as a result of neglect of these rules, contact our attorney for immediate help. The nursing home attorneys at Garcia & Artigliere are dedicated to providing residents and families with exceptional legal support. Call our office or submit our contact form to schedule a free consultation today. As a national firm, our offices are in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Long Beach, Louisville, and New Orleans.