Federal regulations regarding nursing homes were revised in 2016 to include a grievance process. The new regulations created a new set of rights which had not existed previously. How these are being implemented in practice is something that experience will teach.
The new regulations provided that:
- Residents have a right to file grievances regarding resident’s rights;
- The nursing home has an obligation to provide information to the resident about how to make a complaint or grievance
- The resident has a right to and the facility must make efforts to promptly resolve grievances.
These are welcome changes to federal regulations regarding nursing homes. In theory, this should help resolve problems before they get too advanced. One basic right is that residents have a right to be free of abuse and neglect, with specific rights regarding care planning in a nursing home, bed sores, and falls in nursing homes.
Beyond simply creating a set of right for residents and obligations for the nursing home regarding grievances, the regulations also set up a framework for how these rights and obligations should be carried out. These steps include:
- Having a written policy which spells out the grievance process, the people involved and the right of the resident to be provided with a copy of the grievance policy on request;
- Identifying a Grievance Official who is responsible for investigating the grievance, attempting to resolve the grievance, and providing a written response to the grievance;
- Taking measures to prevent further violations of residents’ rights while the grievance is being investigated;
- Required reporting to the State of any violations involving neglect, abuse, unknown injuries, or misappropriation of property;
- Providing written decisions pertaining to the grievance, including a summary of steps taken to investigate the grievance, a summary of findings, and any corrective actions taken
- Maintaining records pertaining to grievances for a 3 year period
If these steps are in fact taken, this has the potential to elevate the quality of care provided in a nursing home setting as well creating a record which can be obtained during our pretrial investigation process which could show that problems that caused injury or wrongful death to our client was in fact a long-standing, recurring problem.