Senior Assistance and Nursing Home Safety


Nursing homes provide senior assistance that many aging loved ones require, but after reading Nursing home nightmare still haunting the elderly nursing home rights, senior assistance rightsby Cathal Gallagher I was reminded of the importance of advocating for those who cannot advocate for themselves. The article tells how Gallagher became a care assistant at Leas Cross Nursing home in 2005 to secretly film the shocking state of eldercare there. The article revealed that the problems continue.

My experience with senior assistance nursing homes is limited, but one relative now lives in one and his daughter tells us they provide exceptional care.  When we visit, he tells us how much he dislikes it, but knows he can no longer care for himself so he is making the best of it. We appreciate his daughter’s daily visits to make sure he is well cared for.

Reading this article today prompted me to explore what rights a nursing home resident and his or her family does have. If a nursing home wants to receive federal funds and participate in Medicare and Medicaid programs they must comply with federal requirements for long term care facilities that are outlined in U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (42 CFR Part 483) . There are also  other federal and state laws that are meant to prevent neglect and abuse. To fully offer senior assistance, advocate for our aging loved ones and help them claim their rights, we must know what the laws and rights are.

Medicare explains that each and every resident is protected under these laws and should be given a copy of their rights.  These rights include but aren’t limited to:

  • The right to be treated with dignity.
  • The right to be notified of services and fees in writing before entering the nursing home
  • The right to manage your money or pick someone else to,
  • The right to be informed of medical treatment and medications
  • Right to privacy and to their possession as long as they do no harm to the other residents

If any of those are violated, you and your loved one do have rights and advocates to turn to if these rights are violated.  The National Center for Elder Abuse offers a state-by-state  database for the Coalition and Task Force to help you find an organization or advocate in your state.

Are you caring for an aging parent or loved one living in a nursing home?  We would love to hear your story and how you help keep them safe in the comments below.

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--- Mary Nix