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Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987

The Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 is an important law aiming to protect nursing home residents. In this article, we’ll give an overview of the Nursing Home Reform Act.

Key Takeaways

  • The Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 created uniform standards of care for long-term nursing facilities
  • It is mandatory for nursing homes to comply with the Nursing Home Reform Act in order to receive Medicare or Medicaid funding
  • In addition to standards of care, the Nursing Home Reform Act also outlines a Nursing Home Resident Bill of Rights
  • Nursing home residents who suffer abuse are encouraged to report it to the appropriate state agency and to speak to a nursing home abuse lawyer for a case review

What Is the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987?

The Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 (NHRA) was enacted to create sweeping changes designed to protect nursing home residents, creating uniform standards for long-term care facilities. It also established the Nursing Home Resident Bill of Rights. 

The NHRA was created in response to a series of congressional probes in the 1980s that revealed widespread nursing home abuse and neglect of residents. 

The NHRA is a federal law, and it is mandatory for nursing homes to comply with it in order to receive funding from Medicare or Medicaid. States are responsible for inspecting nursing homes and certifying that the facility is compliant with the NHRA’s standards.

Some states have included the NHRA requirements in their laws regulating long-term nursing facilities. In those states, all nursing homes must comply with NHRA standards, not just those seeking Medicare or Medicaid funding. 

Standards of Care

The standards of care that a nursing home must meet in order to be compliant with the NHRA include the following:

  • Maintain adequate staffing
  • Determine each resident's functional capacity
  • Develop care plans for all residents
  • Protect resident's ability to care for themselves
  • Provide services for hygiene and nutrition
  • Ensure access to proper medical treatment
  • Monitor medication and provide pharmaceutical services
  • Maintain accurate and complete clinical records

Failure to comply with these standards can result in fines, changes in management, and the denial of Medicare and Medicaid funding.

The Nursing Home Resident Bill of Rights

The rights included in the Nursing Home Resident Bill of Rights are:

  • The right to be treated with dignity and respect
  • Freedom from abuse, mistreatment, and neglect
  • Freedom from physical restraints
  • The right to manage one's own finances or designate someone of their choice to do so
  • The right to privacy
  • The right to have personal belongings and property
  • The right to be informed of one's medical conditions and to consult a doctor of their choice
  • The right to refuse medications and treatments
  • The right to a choice as to schedule and activities
  • The right to an environment that provides maximum comfort and independence

For more information on the rights that nursing home residents are entitled to, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services created this detailed fact sheet

The Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 and Nursing Home Abuse Law

While the NHRA is an important piece of legislation intended to improve the quality of life of nursing home residents in the United States, it can not and does not stop 100% of nursing home abuse cases. When seeking a nursing home for yourself or a loved one, finding one that is accredited and licensed is important. However, there is still a risk of nursing home abuse. 

If you or somebody you care about have experienced nursing home abuse or neglect, it is important to report it to the appropriate state agency. You may also choose to pursue a nursing home abuse lawsuit in order to be compensated for your pain and suffering. Speak to a nursing home abuse attorney for a review of your case.

Featured Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Lawyers

Neustrom & Associates

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Law Offices of Francis J. Discipio

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Palermo Law Group

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Theory Law APC

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D Michael Mullori Jr Attorney At Law

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