The Rights of Elderly in Care Facilities

Rights of elderly in nursing homes
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It is important for residents and their families to understand the benefits and limitations of each program, eligibility requirements, and any additional costs associated with them.

Understanding Medicare and Medicaid for Elderly in Care Facilities

Medicare and Medicaid are government-funded programs that provide healthcare coverage to eligible seniors in nursing homes. But participating nursing homes must meet specific requirements and adhere to set standards of care per the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. For senior Las Cruces residents, it’s important to understand the rights of elderly in care facilities and the differences in these two federal programs. This ensures they will have both adequate financial assistance for long-term care costs and the ability to protect their life savings from being spent entirely by a nursing home or long-term care facility. Meeting with an experienced Las Cruces elder law attorney like Michele Ungvarsky is a critical step as you age and prepare for the future.

Medicare vs. Medicaid Coverage in Nursing Homes

The iBulletin’s recent article, “Things Nursing Homes Are Not Allowed To Do,” says that Medicare provides limited coverage for the long-term care needs of the elderly in assisted living facilities and nursing homes compared to Medicaid, which offers more comprehensive coverage.

Rights of Elderly in Care Facilities: What Are the Rights of Nursing Home Residents with Medicaid or Medicare Coverage?

Fundamental Rights of Nursing Home Residents

Las Cruces residents eligible for these programs have certain rights under federal law of which they should be aware. These include:

  • Non-discrimination based on payment source or medical condition
  • Access to adequate staffing levels
  • A safe living environment

Additional Rights of Residents in Nursing Homes

Residents in nursing homes also have the following rights of elderly in care facilities:

  • The right to participate in their own care plan;
  • The right to make decisions about their medical treatment; and
  • The right to file grievances if they feel their rights have been violated.

Las Cruces residents can also ask for help from an elder law attorney to navigate the complex process of enrolling in these programs. Read more about the application processes for Medicare and Medicaid.

Rights of Elderly in Care Facilities: Additional Rights for Seniors with Dementia in Nursing Homes

Rights of Seniors with Dementia in Nursing Homes

To provide quality care for aging loved ones suffering from dementia, adhering to the guidelines while handling them in nursing homes is critical. The nursing home staff must have appropriate training to ensure they properly manage dementia-related behaviors without using physical restraints such as bed rails.

Communication and Activities in Dementia Care

In addition, effective communication with residents is crucial. The staff should use clear language and allow ample response time. Plus, activities promoting cognitive stimulation can be very beneficial for the patient’s mental well-being and improve their quality of life while in a nursing home.

Nursing Home Compliance with Federal and State Laws

Nursing homes are responsible for caring for elderly residents with complex needs. These facilities must adhere to federal and state laws regarding residents’ care and legal rights, including protection from neglect or abuse by caregivers or other residents. This emphasizes the importance of understanding the rights of elderly in care facilities.

Consequences of Non-Compliance by Nursing Homes

Nursing homes are expected to provide residents with a safe and nurturing environment. Sometimes nursing homes fail to comply with the regulations. This can result in abuse, neglect, retaliation, or even discrimination. If you suspect your loved one is mistreated in a nursing home or has suffered abuse or neglect, seek legal help from a Las Cruces elder law attorney immediately.

Preparing for Long-term Nursing Care

It’s essential for you or your elderly loved one to put financial and legal affairs in order prior to applying for Medicaid or Medicare if possible.   This can include filing for Social Security disability benefits, as well as drafting important estate planning documents, such as power of attorney, a health care directive, and a will. 

Request a consultation with Elder Law Attorney Michele Ungvarsky to help you prepare for long-term care, put your financial and legal affairs in order, and ensure your rights of elderly in care facilities are protected.

Reference: The iBulletin (June 20, 2023) “Things Nursing Homes Are Not Allowed To Do”