About 1.4 million people living in nursing homes across the nation can now be more involved in their care due to new regulations that became effective in November. As discussed in the Washington Post (“New rules give nursing home residents’ more power”), the regulations reflect a shift towards more patient centered care. Here are a few highlights:
- The nursing home should be made to feel more home. This includes the residents right to snacks and alternative meals outside of scheduled times, the right to receive visitors at unscheduled hours, and the ability to choose their roommate.
- A strengthened grievance process. This includes an appointed official to handle all complaints.
- New discharge policies. Residents can no longer be discharged while they are appealing the discharge or for nonpayment if they have applied for Medicaid or other insurance, are appealing coverage denial or are appealing a claim denial. Residents who enter a hospital have the right to return to their same room if available and can appeal a decision by a nursing home that refuses to accept their return from hospitalization.
- More protection from elder abuse. The definition of abuse now includes financial exploitation of the elderly. Nursing homes cannot hire anyone who has been disciplined because of abuse, neglect, mistreatment or financial exploitation of residents.
With proper implementation and enforcement, the article notes that this could “really transform a resident’s experience.” Meet with a qualified elder law attorney to understand how your loved one’s care can be improved.