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The Bill of Rights for Nursing Home Residents

October is Residents’ Rights Month. Brown & Barron, a Baltimore-based law firm specializing in nursing home law, is joining the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care is encouraging every nursing home facility to create awareness and encourage the nursing home industry to focus on dignity, respect, and the value of each individual resident. In the spirit of Residents’ Rights Month, we will be discussing the rights of nursing home residents on our blog throughout October.

If you or your loved one is the resident of a nursing home, you should know the official Rights of Nursing Home Residents. Enacted as law in October of 2019, these rights are not just suggestions. Any violation of these rights can cost the nursing home up to $10,000 per incident in fines and can be grounds for legal damages, if the violation causes an injury or death. These may seem like common sense rules, but sadly, they represent a comprehensive list of the most common ways nursing homes fail to meet their responsibility to the safety and dignity of residents.

Basic rights of patients in comprehensive care or extended care facilities

(MD Code, Health - General, § 19-343)

  1. The right to be treated with consideration, respect, and full recognition of human dignity and individuality;
  2. The right to receive treatment, care, and services that are adequate, appropriate, and in compliance with relevant State and federal laws, rules, and regulations;
  3. The right to privacy;
  4. The right to be free from mental and physical abuse;
  5. The right to notice, procedural fairness, and humane treatment when being transferred or discharged from a facility;
  6. The right to participate in decision making regarding transitions in care, including a transfer or discharge from a facility;
  7. The right to expect and receive appropriate assessment, management, and treatment of pain as an integral component of the patient’s care;
  8. The right to be free from physical and chemical restraints, except for restraints that a physician authorizes for a clearly indicated medical need;
  9. The right to receive respect and privacy in a medical care program; and
  10. The right to manage personal financial affairs.

Nursing home residents have many rights beyond this list, but if you believe a nursing home has violated any of these rights, you should take action. Here are some steps you can take if you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect.

  1. File a complaint with the nursing home administrator
    Call the nursing home and ask to speak with the administrator, and let them know you are filing a formal grievance. Nursing homes are required to have a procedure for handling complaints. The nursing home must respond to your complaint within 30 days.

  2. Contact your local ombudsman
    If you have a complaint against a nursing home, the Maryland Ombudsman Program is a valuable advocate for issues pertaining to long-term care (LTC) facilities, including nursing homes, board/care homes, and assisted-living facilities. The service is free. An ombudsman is a civil servant, who is trained to resolve problems related to the health, safety, welfare, and rights of individuals who live in LTC facilities. The services provided by the ombudsman are free and confidential. An ombudsman will help to investigate and resolve any LTC issue with the help of the resident or on their behalf. For a Maryland ombudsman in your county click here.

  3. File a complaint with the Maryland Office of Health Care Quality (OHCQ)
    The OHCQ investigates complaints against nursing homes. Contact OHCQ at 1-877-402-8219 to file a complaint.

  4. Contact an attorney that specializes in nursing home abuse & neglect.
    When nursing homes are at fault, they will do everything in their power to protect the business, making it nearly impossible to get a straight answer. In these instances, it is wise to contact a law firm that specializes in nursing home law, like Brown & Barron. Our lawyers understand the complex set of rules that nursing homes must follow to ensure the well-being of residents. The sad truth is that nursing homes often break these rules, resulting in preventable injuries and deaths. We have the experience and methods to uncover the truth. When Brown & Barron gets involved, you get the answers and the justice your family deserves.

    If you believe you or a family member has suffered as a result of nursing home negligence, we invite you to contact our team as soon as possible to learn more about your rights and options. To contact our team, call (410) 698-1717 today for a consultation.


This site offers legal information, not legal advice. Although we do our best to provide helpful information about your options, your specific needs require specific legal advice, and for that you should consult an attorney.

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