The Impact of the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 in Today’s World

In a 1986 study conducted by the US Congress, the Institute of Medicine discovered that residents of nursing homes were given substandard care and abuse and neglect were common occurrences. Consequently, the Nursing Home Reform Act was passed and became law in 1987. Nursing homes must continue to comply with the Reform Act to this day. The objective of the law was to ensure that residents in nursing homes receive adequate medical treatment and that this care helps them to achieve physical, mental and psychosocial well-being. It required that certain minimum services be available for residents and established The Residents’ Bill of Rights.

At the very least, after admission into a nursing home facility, residents are entitled to receive periodic assessments and a comprehensive care plan, nursing services, social services, rehabilitation services, pharmaceutical services, dietary services and if the facility has more than 120 beds, the services of a full time social worker.

The Residents’ Bill of Rights established the following:

  • The right to freedom from abuse, neglect and mistreatment
  • 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 voice grievances without discrimination or reprisal
  • 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

Unfortunately, nursing home abuse and neglect continues to be a huge problem to this day. In 1995, the law implemented a certification and enforcement process that requires states to conduct resident interviews and unannounced inspections at least once every 15 months. If a nursing home facility is out of compliance, the enforcement process begins, and the penalties are determined by the circumstances of the deficiency. The response to any non-compliance depends on the severity of the deficiency and whether it put a resident in immediate jeopardy, was an isolated incident or was widespread throughout the facility.

If you suspect that your loved one was abused or neglected in a nursing home facility, call the skilled, knowledgeable and compassionate attorneys at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP NY. We know exactly what to do and will stay by your side from beginning to end until you receive the justice and compensation you deserve. Call 877-504-5562 or email [email protected].