Part 3, A Patient’s Rights

It’s important to understand that as a patient in a Skilled Nursing Facility you have rights.

These are copied directly from the medicare nursing home website, which can be found here.

You have the right to be told in writing about all nursing home services and fees (those that are charged and not charged to you) before you move into the nursing home and at any time when services and fees change.

The nursing home has to notify you before your room or your roommate is changed and should take your preferences into account.

The nursing home must provide you with any needed social services, including the following:

  • Counseling

  • Help solving problems with other residents.

  • Help in contacting legal and financial professionals

  • Discharge planning

If your health allows, and your doctor agrees, you can spend time away from the nursing home visiting family or friends during the day or overnight, called a “leave of absence.” Talk to the nursing home staff a few days ahead of time so the staff has time to prepare your medicines and write your instructions. 

You can’t be sent to another nursing home, or made to leave the nursing home, unless any of the following are true:

  • It’s necessary for the welfare, health, or safety of you or others.


  • Your health has improved to the point that nursing home care is no longer necessary.

  • The nursing home hasn’t been paid for services you got.


  • The nursing home closes.

You have the following rights:

You have the right to appeal a transfer or discharge to the State.
The nursing home can’t make you leave if you’re waiting to get Medicaid.
 Except in emergencies, nursing homes must give a 30-day written notice of their plan and reason to discharge or transfer you.
 The nursing home has to safely and orderly transfer or discharge you and give you proper notice of bed-hold and/or readmission requirements. 

You have a right to form or participate in a resident group to discuss issues and concerns about the nursing home’s policies and operations. Most homes have such groups, often called “resident councils.” The home must give you meeting space and must listen to and act upon grievances and recommendations of the group. 

If possible, I would recommend printing these out and keeping a notebook with pertinent information in it (including either a copy (or a note of where it can be located) of your power of attorney (both medical and durable), a list of all medications, lists of phone numbers of families and all doctors, and any other information that you think should be included.

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