Is forced medical treatment prohibited in nursing homes? The iBulletin’s recent article, “Things Nursing Homes Are Not Allowed To Do,” explains that federal law protects residents against having medical treatment forced upon them without their consent. This applies not just to life-sustaining treatments but all forms of medical care. Nursing home staff must get the patient’s consent or that of their legal representative before administering any treatment.
Potential residents and their families should know the federal regulations regarding this matter to make an informed decision about where they seek care.
At the same time, nursing homes should have identical policies for handling situations when a patient refuses medical attention. These policies can address matters, such as discharge planning and daily living activities which may be affected by the refusal of medical attention.
Elderly patients may not always be able to provide informed consent. As a result, involving a trusted family member or adult child who can act as the responsible party becomes necessary. Because nursing homes are held financially responsible for a resident’s care under federal regulations, they must comply with these guidelines.
In addition, nursing home staff members must respect residents’ rights and provide them with the following:
- Adequate medical care
- Medication management
- Hygiene; and
- Personal care.
Caregivers should always respect the privacy and dignity of the residents and let them make decisions about their healthcare. Emotional or physical abuse towards residents is prohibited under federal law.
A Nursing Home Reform Law ensures that identical policies throughout the U.S. for discharge planning that includes daily living activities like bathing or dressing and receiving proper patient care such as social services, which may include financial services provided by someone designated as the responsible party.
If you suspect your loved one is neglected or abused at a nursing home or assisted living facility, you have some options. In Missouri, you can call the Elder Abuse and Neglect hotline at 1-800-329-0210 to have it investigated. In the greater St. Louis area, VOYCE is an organization that uses volunteers to check up on residents in nursing homes. You can contact them at voycestl.org or by calling 314-918-9188, to ask for a visit with your loved one.
If the concern is to a degree that you are considering legal recourse, you can consult a nursing home abuse lawyer regarding legal rights under state law. Beck, Lenox & Stolzer does not practice in that area, but can refer you to an attorney who does. We focus on estate planning and elder law, and we are happy to assist you in those areas. A free phone consultation may be scheduled here.
Reference: The iBulletin (June 20, 2023) “Things Nursing Homes Are Not Allowed To Do”