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Rights of Those in Nursing Homes

Some of the most vulnerable people in our society are the elderly, especially those in nursing homes. These elderly people are routinely subject to abuse and neglect despite laws that protect them.

Therefore, it is important that loved ones of nursing home residents know the rights that elders have both under Federal and California law. These laws are meant to ensure that all nursing home residents receive quality care and live in a healthy environment that improves or maintains their physical and mental health.

Under the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act, nursing home residents have the following rights:

  • The right to freedom from abuse, mistreatment and neglect
  • The right to freedom from physical restraints
  • The right to privacy
  • The right to accommodation of medical, physical, psychological and social needs
  • The right to participate in resident and family groups
  • The right to be treated with dignity
  • The right to exercise self-determination
  • The right to communicate freely
  • The right to participate in the review of one's care plan, and to be fully informed in advance about any changes in care, treatment, or change of status of the facility
  • The right to voice grievances without discrimination or reprisal


Nursing home residents have similar, but somewhat broader rights under California's Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act, which protects all persons in nursing homes who are dependent on others for care, even those not over 65 years of age. California law also provides for recovery of punitive damages and attorney fees, in addition to medical bills and pain and suffering damages, if it can be shown by a clear and convincing standard that the abuse or neglect was done with malice, fraud, oppression or reckless indifference. Compensation for pain and suffering is recoverable under the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act even where the resident has died, which is otherwise unavailable under California's wrongful death laws.

Call: 707-639-8977

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Law Office of Gregory J. Jansen
622 Jackson Street
Fairfield, CA 94533
Phone: 707-639-8977
Fax: 707-422-1520
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