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Kentucky Nursing Home Resident Rights

Residents, family members, and facility employees should understand the rights a nursing home resident has. Understanding what the law entitles your loved one to and protects them from can help you spot deficiencies in their care. There are federal and state-established laws. Nursing homes must tell residents about these rights and explain them in writing, in a language that they understand before they officially enter care.

If you have questions or concerns regarding your loved one’s nursing home resident rights, or if you feel they’ve been violated, you have the right to seek a legal opinion. Our personal injury lawyers can discuss matters with you.

Federal Resident Rights in Certified Nursing Facilities

When someone moves into a nursing home, their federal rights are the same as before. The Constitution and Bill of Rights still apply. As such, they can:

  • Speak freely
  • Enter into contracts
  • Associate with whomever they choose
  • Be free from physical, mental, and sexual abuse
  • Manage their own personal and financial affairs
  • Make their own decisions about medical treatment

Under the Nursing Home Reform Act, residents are entitled to basic rights that protect their medical needs, privacy, individuality, and dignity. At a minimum, long-term care facilities must treat their residents with respect, ensure they are free from discrimination and abuse or neglect, and give them the ability to make complaints.

In addition to those rights, nursing home residents can participate in activities and be free from restraints. They also have the right to proper medical care. This includes knowing about their health status and being able to take part in their care plan. In regard to their stay, residents should have access to information on the services they receive and the associated costs.

Also, in the event of an emergency or complication, nursing homes should inform the person listed as the resident’s representative. The resident can spend time with visitors in private. They also have complete control over their finances.

In regard to leaving the nursing home, residents can leave with a visitor if their health allows. If a resident wishes to move out, that is their choice.

The Nursing Home Reform Act covers a significant amount of information. If you’re concerned about your loved one’s rights, trying to understand the terminology can be confusing. Our Lexington nursing home abuse lawyers can explain things to you and help you determine how to proceed.

State Nursing Home Resident Rights in Kentucky

Nursing home resident rights in Kentucky are outlined by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Some of the laws overlap with federal regulations. Others, however, are unique to Kentucky. You’ll want to understand both federal and state laws if you have a loved one in a nursing home.

  • The Right to Information. As mentioned, nursing homes must provide residents with a copy and explanation of their rights prior to admission. The facilities must also provide, upon request, access to inspection reports, survey results, and information on the resident’s medical condition, care, and treatment.
  • Self Determination. Residents can choose their own physician, voice complaints, organize and participate in social, religious, and community groups, use a telephone, and retain and use personal clothing.
  • Privacy Rights. In regard to privacy, residents can have private meetings with inspectors from the state, their doctors, and visitors. All personal records are confidential. Additionally, spouses have the right to privacy in a shared room. In the event a resident is housed in a multi-bed room, they have privacy in the tub, shower, and toilet room.
  • Transfer and Discharge Rights. Residents can only be transferred if it’s necessary for their health or wellbeing, if they have failed to pay for their care, or if the facility closes. In the event of a discharge or transfer, the facility must give at least 30 days’ notice, provide a reason, and prepare the staff to safely transfer residents.
  • Visitation Rights. Residents have the right to receive or refuse visitors. They can also immediately access doctors or relatives.
  • Prohibition Against Medicaid Discrimination. Nursing home facilities must have identical policies for payment and provide information on applying for Medicaid. Additionally, they cannot charge, solicit, or accept gifts or donations as a precondition for admission.
  • Protection of Personal Funds. In regard to personal finances, residents can manage their own money. The facility has to keep resident funds separate from their funds and refrain from charging for services covered by Medicaid. They also have to turn funds over to the administrator in the event a resident dies.
  • Rights Against Restraint and Abuse. All nursing home residents are protected from physical, mental, and sexual abuse. They are also protected from the use of physical or chemical restraints.

What to Do When Resident Rights Are Violated

If you believe your loved one’s nursing home resident rights have been violated, you can take legal action on their behalf. Nursing homes have a responsibility to abide by federal and state laws. But when they neglect to do so, residents may be put in harm’s way.

If you suspect your loved one sustained injuries as a result of rights violations, filing a nursing home abuse claim will ensure your loved one receives the compensation they need to recover. To learn more about nursing home resident rights in Kentucky, contact us today.


The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice. Viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Prior case results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

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