Yes, there really are federal standards for nursing home care

| May 11, 2016 | Nursing Home Abuse

Most people know that the State of Georgia has laws in place to protect the rights of residents in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. What many people may not realize, however, is that the U.S. Congress passed a federal law in 1987. The federal laws serve as the basis for minimum care standards that Georgia uses as the basis for nursing home abuse cases.

The Federal Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 (the Act)

Often referred to as OBRA ’87 (Omnibus Budget Reform Act), provisions of the law set out minimum standards and expectations residents and their families have a right to expect when under the care of a certified long-term care facility. States are expected to implement and oversee the standards. Like Georgia, many have chosen to go beyond the base line requirements.

Not just physical well-being, but happiness and fulfillment, too

Key provisions of the Act include steps to be taken to ensure that residents may expect care that goes beyond just meeting the physical and medical needs. Indeed, management and staff of certified nursing facilities are also responsible for programs and policies that encourage happiness and fulfillment, to the extent possible for each resident.

A summary of these provisions include:

  • Policies and procedures should focus on quality of life, in addition to quality of treatment and care
  • An emphasis must be placed on assisting the resident to maintain a level of independence when bathing, walking, eating and pursuing interests
  • The right to remain in the nursing home and consider the facility their home. Exceptions may include financial inability to pay, deteriorating medical condition or if the resident has become a danger to themself
  • Security of personal bank accounts deposited with the facility
  • The right to leave and return to the facility under the care and supervision of an authorized family membery or approved care attendant
  • Residents have the right to select their own doctor, including access to  their own medical records
  • Nursing homes may not resort to applying pressure on family members to assist with overdue Medicare or Medicaid payments

Nursing homes often break federal laws, not just state laws

Nursing home inspectors in Georgia refer to these standards when inspecting and reviewing facilities for certification. In the event a resident suffers an injury due to abuse, neglect or misconduct of a staff member or other resident, there may be federal laws involved when filing a claim for nursing home negligence.

If you are concerned about the level of care your loved one is receiving in a certified nursing home in the Atlanta metropolitan area, call Bird Law Group to discuss your case.

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