As of 2019, over 1.5 million people live in skilled nursing facilities. The Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 sets the federal quality standards for nursing homes. To receive Medicare and Medicaid funding, the nursing home must meet these standards. 

Along with the U.S. government, California has laws in place that regulate skilled nursing facilities. The following are some of the rights of nursing home residents. 

  1. Standard of care

Residents of nursing homes may receive the best level of care and services to maintain a quality standard of living. The U.S. requires these facilities to employ enough staff to provide their charges with social services and activities that reflect their needs and interests. All services are to give residents the highest standards for their physical and mental well-being. 

Inadequate care and improper staffing may result in forms of neglect such as: 

  • Dehydration or malnutrition 
  • Bedsores 
  • Lack of personal hygiene 
  • Falls 

Those who live in a skilled nursing facility have the right to be free of abuse, neglect and exploitation. However, in one survey of nursing home staff in the U.S. reported by the World Health Organization, 36% had witnessed physical abuse of residents, and 10% admitted to committing physical abuse. 

  1. Medical records and health care decisions

The administration of a skilled nursing facility must keep organized and complete records. A poorly maintained record may give a state inspector cause for concern. Residents have the right to informed consent with the right to refuse treatment. They are to have access to their care plan and be able to choose their doctor. 

  1. Homelike environment

The nursing home and its staff must give the residents a safe and comfortable environment. The residents have the right to housekeeping and maintenance. Those who live in a nursing home have the right to have the staff that provides them with a living space that is clean and adequate for their needs and enriches their quality of life.