Before moving into a nursing home, it’s important to do your homework and understand your rights and options.
- Care: You have the right to receive whatever care you need to reach the highest reasonable level of functioning or so that your condition does not deteriorate. Medicaid patients have exactly the same rights to these services as everyone else in the nursing home so long as the nursing home accepts Medicaid patients. And all patients and their families have the right to help develop the care plan so that it is tailored to the resident’s needs
- Choice: The nursing home must accommodate the resident’s preferences, whether they be to wake up late in the morning, to participate in an activity, to change schedules or to have family visit any time of the day or night.
- Costs: Only the resident is required to be financially responsible for his or her care. The nursing home cannot force a family member to take responsibility. Medicare should pick up the costs for residents needing daily skilled nursing or therapy care who have been hospitalized for three days in the 30 days prior to admission, so long as the nursing home is Medicare-certified. If the nursing home says Medicare won’t pay, you still should insist that it submit the bill to Medicare.
- Help: Every state has a long-term care ombudsman program to help ensure the nursing home provides you with the benefits and protections to which you are entitled free of charge. There are also websites where you can find nursing home ratings, but read them with caution.
For more information from the National Senior Citizens Law Center, click here.