Federal Nursing Home Reform Act

Passed in the 1980s, the Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA), was enacted to ensure nursing home residents across the country receive the highest quality care possible. The Act sets uniform standards of care and provides residents with a Bill of Rights. It also requires nursing homes receiving state Medicare and Medicaid funding to follow certain guidelines.

The Nursing Home Reform Act was the first of its kind, and it is taken very seriously by the legal system. Unfortunately, there are many nursing homes that refuse to adhere to the rules and regulations outlined in the NHRA. These facilities jeopardize the safety of their residents by refusing to adhere to the NHRA.

If you believe your nursing home is not in compliance with the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act, it may be wise to file a report and contact an experienced nursing home abuse attorney.

The NHRA Bill of Rights

The Federal Nursing Home Reform Act not only outlines a variety of safety regulations, but it also provides residents with a Bill of Rights. This Bill of Rights ensures residents are treated with respect and dignity by nursing homes and their employees, and the Bill ensures all residents have the right to a certain degree of privacy. Abuse, inadequate medical care, and the isolation of residents are also prohibited by the Bill of Rights.

In addition to the rights mentioned above, the Residents Bill of Rights also guarantees residents have the right to:

  • Communicate freely with others
  • Voice their grievances without fear of reprisal or retaliation
  • Make decisions regarding their own medical care
  • Be free from physical restraints
  • Participate in resident and family groups

Residents are also given the right to exercise self-determination and they must be notified if a caregiver or medical provider intends to make any changes to their treatment plans.

Under the Reform Act, nursing homes are also required to give residents access to:

  • Professional social, rehabilitation, and nursing services
  • Access to a full-time social worker (in facilities with at least 120 beds)
  • Pharmaceutical and dietary services
  • A comprehensive resident plan that takes the mental, physical, and emotional needs of each resident into consideration
  • A periodic well-being assessment

Nursing homes must also adhere to a high standard of care when providing the services listed above.

Required Surveys and Complaint Investigations

The Act requires nursing homes receiving state funding to be certified and properly regulated. Nursing homes must provide residents with unannounced surveys and interviews to ensure they provide honest responses. These surveys must ask questions about patient rights, care, services, and quality of life.

If a patient elects to file a complaint about services or treatment, surveyors must investigate the complaint. If a nursing home is found to not be in compliance with the NHRA, the state has a right to take certain disciplinary actions. In some cases, nursing homes may be provided with an opportunity to correct a problem before disciplinary action is taken.

Noncompliance penalties for nursing homes can include monetary fines, denial of state funds, and monitoring by state officials.

Learn More About the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act

The Federal Nursing Home Reform Act aims to ensure patients receive the care and respect they deserve in their golden years. Nursing homes that violate this Act should be held accountable by the state and the patients they have been entrusted to care for.

If a patient has sustained an injury or emotional damage while residing in a negligent nursing home, they may be entitled to financial compensation. Learn more by contacting an attorney today.