Georgia Nursing Home Residents' Bill of Rights
Georgia has a law called the Nursing Home Residents' Bill of Rights, which gives to each nursing home resident a right to:
- Exercise his or her civil and property rights, like voting, making a will, managing his or her personal affairs and finances, practicing his or her religion, and meeting and associating with people of his or her choice.
- Know in detail what his or her medical condition is, what treatments are possible, and what the side effects and risks of each treatment are.
- Receive care, treatment, and services adequate and appropriate for his or her condition.
- Choose among different forms of treatment, participate in a care and treatment plan, refuse treatment by a particular doctor and request a different doctor, or refuse treatment altogether.
- Object to an involuntary discharge or transfer from the home and have 30 days advance, written notice of an involuntary discharge or transfer.
- Be given 15 days advance, written notice of a proposed involuntary transfer to another bed in the same nursing home.
- Read all printed forms he or she is asked to sign.
- Be treated with dignity and respect, and be free from any physical or chemical restraint or any form of isolation used for convenience or discipline.
- Have restraints used only to protect the resident from immediate injury to himself or herself or others, only with prior examination and authorization by a doctor, and only for a specified time period.
- Be examined in private and have privacy for personal visits, telephone calls, writing and reading of mail, dressing, bathing, and using the toilet.
- Visit privately with the resident's spouse and share a room with the spouse if both are residents and space permits.
- Have medical records kept confidential.
- Refuse to be used as a subject for teaching or research purposes.
- Use tobacco and consume alcoholic beverages (with certain limits).
- Wake up and go to sleep at times of his or her choice.
- Enter and leave the home as he or she chooses.
- Keep and use personal belongings as space permits.
- Have visitation hours for at least 12 straight hours per day.
- Inspect and receive a copy of his or her medical reports.
- Choose his or her pharmacy.
- Voluntarily discharge himself or herself.
- Voice grievances and participate in a voluntary residents' council. (Families may participate in a voluntary family council as well.)
- Know when a staff member enters the resident's room, unless he or she is asleep or there is an emergency situation.
- Be permitted to manage his or her own financial affairs.
- Have any funds over $150 kept in an interest-bearing account insured by agencies of, or corporations chartered by, the state or federal government.
- In the event of the resident's involuntary discharge or transfer from the nursing home, have help in finding an appropriate, alternative place to live.
To obtain the booklet "Long-Term Care Facilities: Residents' Bill of Rights," which lists the rights described above, contact the Standards and Licensure Section, Office of Regulatory Services, Georgia Department of Human Resources, 2 Peachtree Street, N.E., 31st Floor, Atlanta, Georgia 30303 or call (404) 657-5850. There is a small charge for the booklet. You can also click on "Legal Rights of Nursing Home Residents" on the home page of this web site to see the contents of a pamphlet compiled and published by the Elder Law Committee, Young Lawyers Division of the State Bar of Georgia.