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What are nursing home residents' rights?

Your loved one should not suffer indignities or lose freedoms or privileges just because he or she is making the transition to a Georgia nursing home. In fact, the Georgia Department of Community Health specifically identifies the protections every nursing home resident has in long-term care facilities in the Residents' Bill of Rights.

The first one on the list is the right to receive notification in writing of what residents' rights are. This includes written copies of the grievance and enforcement procedures. After these are reviewed, your loved one--or you, if you are the legal guardian--must provide acknowledgement that they have been received and understood. 

Residents have the rights to privacy and personal property, and to transfer or discharge at will. Your loved one may practice his or her religion, and others cannot impose religious beliefs or practices on your loved one.

Your loved one has the right to freedom from restraints, as well. Although it is important to make sure there is no risk of falling from a bed or chair, there are methods of helping your loved one maintain balance without restricting his or her movement. 

The nursing home cannot ban friends or relatives who your loved one wishes to see, or tell your loved one that another resident is not allowed to associate with him or her. However, visitors must observe normal visiting hours, disclose their presence and identification to the facility, and receive permission to enter. If a staff member worries for a resident's safety or believes the visitor's purpose is commercial or for solicitation purposes, he or she may refuse to let the visitor in or may request that the visitor leave.

This is not a complete list of residents' rights, but it may help you identify when there is a problem in a facility. This information should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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