In the United States, new provisions get made to improve the quality of nursing homes. In 1987, a significant reform act got passed to do this. Here, I will discuss the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987. You can learn about this reform act on this page. Also learn how it can impact your family if you have a loved one entering a nursing home.
History of the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987
In 1986, Congress asked the Institute of Medicine to conduct a study on nursing homes in America. This study found that there was a lot of inadequate care going on in nursing homes. Residents were commonly neglected or abused. To change these issues, the Institute of Medicine proposed many different reforms. Most of these plans became law with the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act. Also, this was a part of 1987’s Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act.
The purpose of the Nursing Home Reform Act was to make sure that nursing home residents get quality care. So, the reform act implemented certain care services to make sure that this happened. Required services for nursing home residents under this reform act include:
- Regular assessment for all residents.
- A care plan for each resident.
- Social services.
- Nursing services.
- Pharmaceutical services.
- Rehabilitation services.
- Dietary services.
- A full time social worker if the nursing home has over 120 beds.
Residents’ Bill of Rights
The 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act also created the Residents’ Bill of Rights. This Bill of Rights gave all residents basic rights. Also, it established clear consequences if these rights got violated. These rights include the right to:
- Freedom from neglect, abuse, or mistreatment.
- Freedom from physical restraints.
- Get treated with dignity.
- Accommodation for your emotional, physical, social, and medical needs.
- Free communication.
- Self determination.
- Take part in family groups and resident groups.
- Express issues that they have with the home without fear of discrimination.
- Receive information about their care plans and treatment options.
Another aspect of this reform act was to establish certification requirements. Part of the certification process is that states can conduct unannounced surveys. The survey focuses on nursing home residents’ rights. Also, it focused on the services provided by the home, and the quality of care in the nursing home. These surveys could include interviews of residents. Also, these surveys should happen at least once every 15 months. This certification process didn’t start until 1995. But, it is now an important part of making sure that nursing home residents get proper treatment.
So, if a nursing home is not in compliance with the reform act, an enforcement process will begin. The following consequences apply to a home that violates the Reform Act:
- Denial of payment for Medicare or Medicaid patients.
- Temporary management.
- Civil monetary penalties.
- Termination of provider agreement.
- State monitoring.
- Directed plan of correction.
- In service training of staff members.
The 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act implemented checks and balances for nursing homes. This is a good thing. It makes sure that nursing homes do what they get asked to do. So, if you think that your loved one’s home violated this reform act, take action. It is important that you protect your loved one’s rights. You should contact a nursing home neglect and abuse attorney. Discuss the situation with a lawyer to determine the next step in protecting your family.