Laws Protecting Nursing Home Residents in Louisiana

Laws Protecting Nursing Home Residents in LouisianaAll individuals have the right to live in a place that is safe and where they feel supported. That is no different in a nursing home. There are numerous federal laws that put in place rules for nursing homes to follow to ensure that individuals are always protected. These laws are a foundation and should be used by residents and family members as a way to obtain the legal support they need.

If you see that a nursing home violated your rights in any way, it’s reasonable to take action. That includes contacting a Louisiana nursing home attorney at Garcia & Artigliere for immediate help.

Louisiana laws to protect nursing home residents

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals provides one of the best resources for a nursing home bill of rights. In short, you have the right to a variety of levels of care and support when you enter into a location like this. Even if you have medical concerns or changes in cognitive awareness, you still have the ability to seek out legal action if a nursing home fails to provide quality care. Under LA Rev Stat § 40:2010.8, the following rules apply.

The right to free choice

One of the most important rights provided under the law is the right to free choice. This gives residents the right to:

  • Select their own doctor
  • Obtain pharmaceutical supplies and services from the pharmacy they select
  • Be informed in advance about any treatment or care they are receiving
  • Withhold payment for a doctor’s visit if the doctor did not provide an examination
  • Participate in planning care and treatment as well as any changes to those plans over time

The right to privacy and confidentiality

Under the law, a nursing home resident has the right to personal privacy and confidentiality, including all personal and clinical records. These rights extend to their accommodations, any communications made over the phone or in writing, medical treatment, family meetings, visits, personal care, and resident groups. While the law does not require that a resident have a private room, they should still feel like their privacy is protected. The law includes the right to:

  • Having closed room doors
  • Having privacy during bathing, toileting, or other activities related to hygiene
  • Having privacy screens or curtains during any treatment of bathing,
  • Having a facility staff member knock before opening a closed door unless there is an emergency situation
  • Privacy for all mail and access to that mail in a timely manner (it should be unopened)

Right to file a grievance

The state also provides individuals with the right to file a grievance if they believe there were violations of any rights. More so, a person cannot be treated differently or discriminated against in any way for filing such a grievance. This includes those related to care and treatment as well as other needs that have not been met.

Right to visitors

The law also provides for the location to provide access to family and to others. This includes access to any resident that provides health, social, legal, or other services to the resident. It should also include any representative of the state, or Department of Health and Hospitals, the State Long Term Care Ombudsman, and the resident’s personal doctor.

Residents also have the right to visit overnight outside of the facility with friends or family as long as they are under physician’s orders or meet other regulatory requirements set by Medicare or Medicaid.

Right to participate in resident and family groups

The law also provides that all residents in a nursing home have the right to participate in resident and family groups, including:

  • The right to organize as well as participate with other residents in the location
  • The right for the resident’s family to meet in the facility with other families of other residents in the location
  • The right for the facility to provide a resident or family group with private space
  • The right for staff and visitors to attend meetings at the group’s invitation
  • The facility must provide specific staff to be responsible for providing assistance and responding to written requirements from group meetings.

Also notable, if the resident or family group exists, the location must listen to the views and act upon any of the grievances and recommendations made including those related to policy or operational decisions that impact resident care and life.

Freedom from restraints and abuse

The law clearly states that residents have the right to be free from any type of abuse, including verbal, sexual, physical, or mental abuse. They also have the right to be free from corporal punishment or involuntary seclusion. Residents cannot have physical or chemical restraints used if it is being done for the purpose of convenience of the staff or as a way to discipline individuals.

In situations where your family member’s rights are violated, or your own rights were violated in a nursing home, take action as soon as possible. That includes reaching out to the location’s senior management but also the Department of Health and Hospitals for the state. We also encourage you to seek help immediately from an attorney you hire to help you navigate this legal process. The nursing home abuse attorneys at Garcia & Artigliere are dedicated to providing residents and families with exceptional legal support. As a national firm, our offices are in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Long Beach, Louisville, and New Orleans.