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MA elder law and Nursing home rights

I have a grandmother in a MA nursing home, and I don't really like the place (I admit it). Don't really want to get into specifics about what they are doing and how they are treating her, but I was hoping you could tell me about some of the rights she has regarding privacy and roommates. Thanks.

 
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Editor's Response

Sorry to hear about your problem, but not surprised.  This issue comes up often with attorneys who practice elder law in MA.  You will be happy to hear, however, that MA law spells out many rights for your grandmother.  A good place to start your research is the Code of Massachusetts Regulations, CMR.  For example, 940 CMR 4.06 and 4.07 spell out many of the rights regarding personal matters, privacy, and personal property.  Here are some examples of the rights afforded to elders and others in nursing homes
 
* to full disclosure on subjects ranging from the financial practices of the facility (such as per diem rates and the services included in those rates), to information regarding her health, and these disclosures must be made in writing, in a language understood by her, and in large print (at least12 point type);
* to have her representatives notified immediately if she is involved in an accident that results in an injury that requires intervention by a doctor, undergoes a significant change in her physical, psychosocial, or mental condition, or requires a major alteration to her treatment;
* to be free from all forms of abuse (verbal, sexual, physical, and mental) and from involuntary seclusion;
* to share a room with her spouse (if also a resident of the facility, when the bed becomes available);
* to a non-smoking roommate;
* to at least forty-eight hours notice before her roommate is changed;
* to decline a transfer to a different room, except when required for safety or health reasons;
* to manage her own affairs, to the extent she is able to, including her finances, without mandatory assistance by the facility (such as the mandatory deposit of her funds in an account controlled by the facility);
* to require the facility to assume responsibility for her personal funds;
* to the use and control of personal possessions, including furnishings and clothing, as space permits;
* to adequate and secure storage space;
* to refuse to sign a waiver excusing the facility for damage caused to her personal belongings and property;
* to the use of telephones with sound amplification (when necessary);
* to access to stationery, postage, and pens (at her expense);
* to send and receive mail, unopened;
* to visits with family and others that are as unrestricted and private as possible;
* to participate with, and have access to, groups and people who provide social and religious activities; and
* to meet with persons or groups who offer free legal services.
 
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