When you or a loved one is admitted to a nursing home in Massachusetts, either for short term rehab, or a long term stay, you should know that every nursing home resident has rights, and every nursing home has an ombudsman. The ombudsman's role is to visit residents on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, and to assist the resident with any questions, concerns or complaints.
The ombudsman is a trained volunteer who visits nursing homes on a regular basis, and investigates and resolves resident and family concerns. While the goal is to have the issue resolved within the nursing home, the ombudsman can involve the program director if needed. If the issues remain unresolved, the State Ombudsman Office or the Department of Public Health can offer assistance.
Some of the rights of a long term care facility resident are:
- The right to be informed of the rules and regulations governing the facility.
- The right to adequate lighting, ample fluid and appropriate exercise.
- The right to choose your own physician.
- The right to use a telephone in private, and to be able to make outgoing calls.
- The right to confidentiality.
- The right to examine your records, and the results of State surveys done at the facility.
- Freedom from reprisal, verbal abuse, physical abuse, injury and discrimination.
- The right to information about charges, medical procedures and the services available.
- The right to information about the Ombudsman Program and how to contact the ombudsman.
- The right to manage your own finances.
For more information on the ombudsman program, including a complete list of nursing home rights and the contact information for the ombudsman in your area, visit the Massachusetts Long Term Care Ombudsman website by clicking here.