If you live in a nursing home or assisted living facility licensed by the state of Alaska, you have the same civil rights as all U.S. citizens. You also have special residents’ rights, protected by law.
What are residents’ rights?
Federal law protects the rights of people who reside in skilled nursing facilities, also called nursing homes. The National Ombudsman Resource Center offers this summary of nursing home residents’ rights.
- The right of citizenship. Nursing home residents do not lose any of their rights of citizenship, including the right to vote, to religious freedom and to associate with whom they choose.
- The right to dignity. Residents of nursing homes are honored guests and have the right to be so treated.
- The right to privacy. Nursing home residents have the right to privacy whenever possible, including the right to privacy with their spouse, the right to have their medical and personal records treated in confidence, and the right to private, uncensored communication.
- The right to personal property. Nursing home residents have the right to possess and use personal property and to manage their financial affairs.
- The right to information. Nursing home residents have the right to information, including the regulations of the home and the costs for services rendered. They also have the right to participate in decisions about any treatment, including the right to refuse treatment.
- The right of freedom. Nursing home residents have the right to be free from mental or physical abuse and from physical or chemical restraint unless ordered by their physician.
- The right to care. Residents have the right to equal care, treatment and services provided by the facility without discrimination.
- The right of residence. Nursing home residents have the right to live at the home unless they violate publicized regulations. They may not be discharged without timely and proper notification to both the resident and the family or guardian.
- The right of expression. Nursing home residents have the right to exercise their rights, including the right to file complaints and grievances without fear of reprisal.
Alaska Statute 47.33.300 protects the rights of people residing in Alaskan assisted living facilities.
Listed below are residents’ rights in licensed residential care facilities.
- Residents have a right to live in a safe and sanitary environment.
- Residents have a right to be treated with consideration and respect for personal dignity.
- Residents have the right to possess and use personal clothing and other personal property.
- Residents also have a right to engage in private communications (including privacy of mail, phone conversations and visits).
- Residents have the right to close the door of their rooms.
- Residents can leave the home to participate in community activities, but at their own expense.
- Residents have the right to manage their own money, unless the court has appointed a guardian or conservator.
- Residents have a right to participate in the development of their assisted living plans.
- Residents have a right to the opportunity to exercise and go outside, within reason.
- Residents have a right to access health care and providers of their own choosing.
- Residents have a right to self-administer their own medications.
- Residents have a right to receive meals that are consistent with religious or health-related restrictions.
- Residents have a right to 30 days’ notice if they are being involuntarily discharged from a home.
- Residents also have a right to receive 90 days’ prior notice of relocation of the home or closure.
- Residents have a right to present grievances to the home and have those grievances responded to.
- Residents have a right to access their own files kept in the home.