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Nursing home residents have rights

Nursing home residents retain certain basic rights under Code of Maryland Regulation 10.07.09.08. According to COMAR, a few of the rights afforded to residents of nursing facilities are as follows:

  • The right to access medical records within 24 hours of either a verbal or written request;
  • The right to communicate with individuals inside and outside the facility;
  • The right to visit and meet privately with any legal representative;
  • The right to either consent to or deny consent to visits, and to withdraw consent or deny consent at any time;
  • The right to make complaints;
  • The right to visit and meet privately with a representative of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program.

The above serves as a short list of rights and is notable insofar as it highlights the rights residents have to be in charge of their own lives and property, and to maintain the dignity and respect to which they were accustomed prior to admission at a nursing facility.

Such a declaration of rights, as it may be called, coincides with the kind of person-centered care that has been found to be beneficial in lowering rates of helplessness, boredom, and agitation in residents of nursing facilities, according to a study published by the Dove Medical Press. The hallmarks of person-care centered care include active listening, empathy, sensitivity, and acceptance. This kind of care model has also been shown to increase levels of satisfaction in nursing staff.

It is important for nursing home residents to understand the rights they are afforded by law. When residents are provided with that knowledge, they are empowered to have more meaningful interactions with nursing home staff.

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