Residents’ Bill of Rights
California has enacted laws to ensure that residents of skilled nursing facilities and residential care facilities for the elderly are guaranteed certain rights and protections. Facilities are required to provide each resident with a comprehensive list of all rights at such time they are admitted into the facility. This overview only includes a partial list. For a comprehensive list of all rights afforded to residents of skilled nursing facilities, including the attachment that every resident must be provided upon admission, see the following link.
Nursing Home or Skilled Nursing Facility
Nursing home residents have rights even upon admission into the nursing home. There are certain rights that the resident has with regard to the contract between the elder and the nursing home. Included in these is the right to have the nursing home make every reasonable effort to make sure the resident understands the content of the contract prior to admission. The contract for admission cannot contain any waivers of liability for the health, safety, or loss or damage to the personal property of the resident. Also, upon admission, the resident has the right to be informed in writing of all of their rights as a resident of the nursing home.
Residents also have rights upon transfer from one nursing home to another and upon discharge from the facility. These include the right not to be evicted in retaliation because a resident filed a complaint. The resident also has the right not to be transferred or discharged from the nursing home unless it is necessary due to the resident's welfare, the resident's health has improved, the resident's safety is threatened, or because the resident has failed to meet his or her financial obligations.
In addition to rights upon admission and rights upon transfer or discharge, the nursing home resident also has rights while living within the nursing home. Some of these include the right to receive care necessary to prevent bedsores, the right to be treated with dignity, the right to be free from physical, mental, and sexual abuse, and the right to receive personal accommodations to meet individualized needs. Residents also have the right to make their own health care decisions if they are able. If they are not able, they have the right to have their designated power of attorney make those decisions. If a resident's rights are violated, California law provides the resident with an avenue to seek remedies, which can include up to $500 per incident and attorney fees and costs.
Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly or Assisted Living
For those elders who are residents of a residential care facility for the elderly, the rights are similar to the rights afforded nursing home residents, but there are some differences. There are also rights upon admission into the residential health care facility, including the right to a written visitation policy. Residents also have the right to have necessary payment provisions clearly spelled out in the admissions agreement.
Residents have the right not to be evicted unless one of the following conditions is present: (1) nonpayment within 10 days of required due date; (2) resident fails to comply with the law; (3) resident fails to comply with the policies of the facility; or (4) the facility changes use. If eviction is proper, the residents have the right to have 30-day notice prior to eviction. Finally, once inside the facility, residents also have the right to autonomy, the right to be treated with dignity, and the right to be free from unusual punishment and abuse.
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