The 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act (“NHRA”), part of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987(“OBRA”), established quality standards for nursing homes nationwide and defined the state survey and certification process to enforce the standards (42 CFR 283.0). These regulations represent minimum standards for long term care facilities. They were promulgated to improve the quality of care of their residents. The general goals of OBRA are to:
(a) promote and enhance the quality of life of the resident;
(b) provide services and activities to attain or maintain the highest practicable, physical, mental and psycho social well being of each resident in accordance with a written plan of care;
(c) provide that resident and advocate participation is a criteria for assessing the facilities compliance with administrator requirements; and
(d) assure access to the State’s Long Term Care Ombudsman (a 3rd party resident advocate) to the facilities residents, and assure that the Ombudsman has access to records, residents and care providers.
The goals are implemented by NHRA establishing the Resident’s Bill of 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 in the facility; and
The right to voice grievances without the discrimination or reprisal.
About the Author
Attorney Steven Peck has been practicing law since 1981. A former successful business owner, Mr. Peck initially focused his legal career on business law. Within the first three years, after some colleagues and friend’s parents endured nursing home neglect and elder abuse, he continued his education to begin practicing elder law and nursing home abuse law.