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Resident's Rights: A Guide

What rights do you have as a nursing home resident?

ALL of the rights every other citizen enjoys, plus additional rights that have to do with life in a long-term care facility.

Here is a partial listing of these additional rights:

Health Care

  • To receive adequate and appropriate health care and protective and support services
  • To be free of physical restraints not documented as medically necessary
  • To have your choice of pharmacy and physician
  • To withhold payment for physician visitation if the physician did not examine you
  • To be transferred or discharged only after reasonable notice is given and only for medical reasons, the welfare of other residents, or for non-payment
  • To be protected from transfer or discharge from a Title XIX certified facility solely because the source of payment changes

Individual Liberties

  • To exercise your civil and religious liberties
  • To exercise your rights as a resident and a citizen
  • To complain and make suggestions without fear of coercion or retaliation
  • To be treated courteously, fairly and with the fullest measure of dignity
  • To be free of mental and physical abuse
  • To take part in various activities of thelong-term care facility
  • To be free not to perform work
  • To choose a roommate, when possible
  • To have your own clothing and possessions
  • To manage your personal affairs,
    • if this is delegated to the facility, to receive an accounting report every three months upon request
  • To retire and rise in accord with reasonable requests
  • To consume a reasonable amount of alcoholic beverages, with some restrictions
  • To use tobacco in accord with applicable policies, rules and law 
  • To have ample opportunity to visit with family and friends
  • To share a room with your spouse, if he/she is a resident of the same nursing home and both consent


  • To be informed of your rights, the rules and regulations of the nursing home
  • To receive prompt response to all reasonable requests and inquiries
  • To have any significant change in your health status reported to you
  • To be informed of your condition and planned medical treatment, and to participate in or refuse that treatment
  • To examine the results of the most recent survey conducted by state or federal surveyors of the facility
  • To be informed of the bed reservation policy for hospitalization
  • To be told of all services available and all costs, including charges covered or not covered by Medicare, Medicaid or the basic per diem rate


  • To be treated with consideration and respect for your personal privacy
  • To send and receive unopened mail
  • To receive visitors in privacy
  • To have your personal and medical records treated confidentially
  • To have regular access to private use of a telephone
  • To refuse to serve as a medical research subject
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