Nursing Homes Residents RightsNursing Homes Residents Rights

In any nursing and rehab facility where elderly patients are being treated, “resident rights” is a vital and crucial topic. This essay isn’t intended to be exhaustive, but to simply cover the basics. Here’s a proposed list of Resident Rights I encourage you to follow in your community.

Residents in an in-patient nursing setting are entitled to the following:

Medical Care

  • To retain the services of a physician of their own choosing
  • To have their medical condition explained to them in clear and concise language and to their understanding
  • To participate in their own care plan
  • To refuse medications and treatments after being informed of its consequences
  • To refuse participation in experimental drugs and treatments

Freedom of Abuse & Restraints

  • Freedom from all forms of abuse, whether verbal or physical
  • Freedom from chemical and physical restraints unless ordered by a physician for brief periods and specific applications (to protect from injury)

Physical and Personal Environment

  • To live in a safe and comfortable environment
  • To be treated gently and with dignity and courtesy
  • To wear personal clothes and keep personal effects
  • To wear appropriate and not ill fitting clothes
  • To have personal effects of value properly secured at the expense of the facility


  • To manage their own finances or to appoint a suitable proxy
  • To receive timely and written statements from the facility regarding all bills for provided services
  • To receive a quarterly written report and accounting of all of their funds and personal effects stored at the facility for safekeeping
  • To have daily access upon request and during reasonable hours, to all monies and property deposited with the facility

Visits and Activities

  • To stay out of bed at their own will and discretion
  • To meet with visitors of their own choosing between 8am and 8pm daily
  • To take part in all activities and initiatives, including religious groups and services
  • To leave the nursing facility during the day
  • To refuse to perform services for the nursing home
  • To request visits from religious groups and providers
  • To not be subjected to any forms of discrimination based upon sex, ethnicity, religion, or nationality
  • To organize and participate in a Resident Council that presents concerns to Administration for amelioration and problem solving

Privacy and Confidentiality

  • To have physical space and privacy
  • To have ample opportunity for private intimate contact and interaction
  • To have access to all personal information
  • To expect the facility to adhere to all HIPAA rules and regulations

Discharges and Transfers

  • To be notified in advance of any changes to their room or roommate
  • To be transferred and/or discharged only in cases of medical emergency, to protect their personal welfare or that of the other residents, for non payment, or to comply with advanced directives
  • To receive a 30 day prior written notice when the facility is looking to discharge for any of the aforementioned reasons

Mail and Telephone

  • To receive and send private communications via mail with the proper expectation that these letters will not be tampered with
  • To have private access to telephone within their living environment, whether at their expense or that of the facility  

Protection of Rights

  • To be given a written statement from the nursing home regarding all changes in regulations and protocol involving their rights and the facilities’ responsibility to them (copies should concurrently be supplied to families and staff)
  • To retain and exercise all of their constitutional and civil rights and to be encouraged by the facility to do so

In the final analysis, by adhering to the rights of the resident, the facility will ensure a successful long term relationship of mutual trust and collaboration!

Judah Gutwein, LNHA, is the Director of Admissions, Administration, Marketing, Social Media for Regency Nursing and Post-acute Rehabilitation Centers, NJ. The Regency organization has become synonymous with the best in senior healthcare and has garnered a well deserved reputation for its unsurpassed commitment to its patients and residents. The Regency Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers and Facilities throughout New Jersey have achieved numerous industry ‘gold standard’ benchmarks an have received accolades from all corners of the HealthCare community.


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