Living in a nursing facility is not something one looks forward to in life. However, all of us risk getting to the point where we need help.  What can you do when you find yourself living in one?  Foremost, know your nursing home resident’s rights! There are several things you should know about your rights and protections under the Nursing Home Reform Law of 1987. Among other protections, you have a right to participate in the decision-making about your medical care. You can also let family or friends help you with making decisions. This includes the right to participate in your care planning and requesting services personalized for you. Likewise, never forget that when living in a nursing home, it is your home, not a medical institution.  And, you have nursing home rights that ensure proper care.


Nursing Home Rights and Your Diet

I, for one, am not a fan of mustard or mayo; I prefer a low carbohydrate, high fat (LCHF) diet.  Can a nursing home accommodate my diet?  Importantly, part of your nursing resident’s rights includes expressing your personal dietary preferences. Nursing home rights require facilities to have professional dieticians capable of designing a diet for your condition. They need your consent to provide a diet, and only keep their job when you and others are satisfied.  Furthermore, you have a right to say yes or no to what and to when you eat. Whether you are a vegan, vegetarian or need a low carbohydrate high fat (LCHF) diet, the nursing home should accommodate. If your nursing home refuses to meet your needs and desires, stand up for your rights!  

What can you do?  First, file a complaint with the nursing home’s management.  If this does not work, complain to your state ombudsman. Additionally, you can even form a residents’ council to express your and other resident’s concerns.  

Nursing facilities are equipped to provide medically-prescribed diets. Diets should not be one size fits all.  Moreover, you can choose your own doctors not affiliated with the facility. Even though the nursing home medical director may currently be your doctor, you have the right to choose your own. Your doctor can help you advocate for a better diet. Becoming your own self advocate is one of the best ways to get out of the nursing facility.  By taking the lead in your health decisions, you can get back to living independently. 


Where to Find Additional Resources

Sometimes, you will need more help with nursing home rights than seeing your own self advocate. Every state has a state ombudsman program charged with protecting the rights of folks living in nursing homes. Since the state pays the ombudsman, there is no charge for the services. Nursing facilities are regulated and inspected regularly. Through the ombudsman, or directly, you can file a complaint with your state’s nursing home regulatory agency. This complaint could trigger an inspection or survey of the nursing home. 

If these options do not work, a private elder law attorney or a private geriatric care manager may be able to help. At the Liipfert Law Group, PLLC, we advocate for residents of nursing homes and help with these issues. From Medicaid eligibility, Medicare issues and estate planning, we help protect you and your loved ones. If we cannot help you, we often can help find someone who can. 

Today, contact us online or at 336-283-4848.

Bailey Liipfert III
Liipfert Law Group, PLLC
380 Knollwood St., Ste. 620
Winston-Salem, NC 27103
Ph. 336-283-4848