Rules & Regulations for Nursing Homes

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Rules & Regulations for Nursing Homes
Nursing home staff are regulated by the federal government for responsible resident care. (nurse chris image by John Keith from

Nursing homes, not to be confused with retirement communities, are care facilities for individuals who are not sick enough to stay in a hospital but require care that cannot be provided in their homes, according to MedlinePlus from the U.S. National Library of Medicine. The elderly are not the only patients who must stay in a nursing home, as these medical centres are for anyone who requires 24-hour medical attention. Nursing homes are regulated by the federal government and by local state jurisdictions; however, certain rules and regulations apply for every nursing home in the United States.

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Resident Care

Nursing homes within the United States are required to ensure every resident has an individual care plan. If residents are not able to fully care for themselves, nursing home staff must perform daily living activities, such as grooming, oral hygiene, establishing good nutrition habits as well as preventing residents from developing bedsores and other preventable ailments. Nursing home staff is required by law to treat every resident with dignity and respect. Residents are to be supported in their participation of activities, which include social programs, religious practices and community gatherings; however, the rights of one resident are to never interfere with the rights of other nursing home residents. Lastly, nursing homes must maintain treatment programs in order to enhance the quality of life for residents. This may include providing medications, engaging in physical activity and treating all ailments swiftly and responsibly.

Resident Assessment Regulations

Federal regulations require nursing homes to perform resident assessments in order to monitor a resident's physical and mental stability. These assessments are usually performed on a quarterly basis to determine if a particular treatment method is enhancing the quality of life for a resident. When a resident is first admitted into a nursing home the staff must complete a comprehensive assessment. This documentation must include identification information, cognitive patterns, mood patterns, physical functionality and continence information, as well as a list of any pre-existing health conditions and treatment methods for this condition. According to the state you reside in, a nursing home may have to gather other assessment information.

Transfer/Discharge Regulations

Nursing homes are required by federal law to follow several guidelines when it comes to transferring a resident to a new nursing home or completely discharging a resident from the current facility. The rules and regulations for a transfer or discharge ensure that a resident will have ample time to make arrangements with family or another facility. If a resident is unable to pay the monthly amount for nursing home care, a facility must give the resident 30 days notice of discharge or transfer. All transfers and discharges are to be made out in writing and sent to the resident's family or legal representative to ensure the resident and any caregivers are fully aware of the situation.

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