6 Things Nursing Homes Are Not Allowed To Do

Things Nursing Homes Cannot Do: Protecting the Rights and Well-being of Residents

Nursing homes play a crucial role in providing care and support to elderly and vulnerable individuals who require assistance with daily living activities. Federal and state regulations have been established to ensure the safety, rights, and dignity of nursing home residents. It is important for both residents and their families to be aware of the things nursing homes are not allowed to do in order to ensure that their loved ones receive the quality care they deserve.

Medication Administration

Nursing homes are required to follow the prescriptions and instructions provided by residents’ doctors. They must obtain informed consent from the residents or their legal representatives before administering any medications. Medications should only be used for legitimate medical purposes and not for purposes like sedation, restraint, or control unless there is a valid medical necessity.

No Discrimination Allowed: Ensuring Fair Treatment in Assisted Living Communities

Nursing homes are prohibited from discriminating against residents based on protected characteristics such as age, race, religion, gender, or disability status. Federal laws, including the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987, as well as state laws, have implemented stringent policies to guarantee fair treatment for all inhabitants. These regulations are in place to prevent nursing homes from refusing care or amenities based on discriminatory factors.

In addition to federal laws, many state laws have additional protections in place. These may include language assistance services for non-English speakers or specialized care plans for individuals with dementia. It is crucial for nursing homes to adhere to these regulations to ensure that residents receive equal and fair treatment.

Nursing Home Abuse: Protecting Residents from Inhumane Treatment

One of the most important regulations in nursing homes is the prohibition of abuse and neglect. Nursing homes are required to treat residents with respect and dignity, and any form of abuse or neglect is strictly prohibited. Unfortunately, there have been instances where nursing home staff members have violated these regulations and mistreated residents.

Types of inhumane treatment of the elderly can include physical abuse, such as hitting or slapping, or neglecting to provide proper care, such as allowing poor hygiene. Emotional abuse, such as verbal threats or humiliation, and sexual abuse, such as unwanted touching or advances, are also strictly prohibited. It is essential for residents and their families to be vigilant and report any suspected abuse or neglect to the appropriate authorities, such as a nursing home abuse lawyer or the Department of Health and Human Services.

Nursing homes are legally obligated to provide residents with adequate and appropriate care and services to meet their physical, mental, and emotional needs. Any form of abuse or neglect, including physical abuse, emotional abuse, exploitation, or mistreatment, is strictly prohibited. Nursing homes must ensure the safety and well-being of their residents.

Restraint of Nursing Home Residents: Ensuring Safety and Dignity

Assisted living communities are not allowed to use physical restraints or chemical restraints (such as drugs) to discipline or control nursing home residents for the convenience of the staff. Federal law outlines that seclusion or restraints may only be used to ensure the safety of the staff and residents in certain situations. The use of restraints should never impede the proper care and well-being of residents.

If residents or their families believe that restraints are being used inappropriately or excessively, it is important to contact a nursing home abuse lawyer or report the issue to the appropriate authorities. Residents have the right to be treated with dignity and respect, and any violation of this right should be addressed promptly.

Spending Private Time with Visitors: Preserving Residents’ Rights to Privacy

Residents in nursing homes retain their autonomy and dignity. They have the right to make decisions about various aspects of their personal lives, including choosing their visitors, participating in activities, managing their belongings, and handling their finances. Nursing homes cannot isolate, confine, or monitor residents without their consent or a valid, documented reason that is in the best interest of the resident.

Residents of nursing homes have the right to see visitors at any time and to have private time with them outside of the supervision of staff. Nursing homes are not allowed to block visitors or restrict the ability of residents to have personal interactions with their loved ones. This includes maintaining privacy during visits and allowing residents to engage in activities of their choice with their visitors.

If a nursing home denies residents the opportunity to spend private time with their visitors, it is important to address this issue with the facility. Residents have the right to receive the medical care and services outlined in their care plan, which includes maintaining connections with their loved ones.

Transparent Fees and Contracts

Nursing homes are required to inform residents or their legal representatives about the types of services they provide and the associated costs. They cannot engage in deceptive practices, such as charging hidden fees, increasing rates without proper notice, or terminating contracts without just cause. This transparency ensures that residents and their families can make informed decisions about their care and finances.

The common problems that nursing homes may face or cause:

1. Staff Shortages and Turnover:
– Staff shortages and high turnover rates can result in nursing homes not having an adequate number of qualified caregivers to meet the residents’ needs.
– This can lead to a range of issues, including medication errors, delayed responses to residents’ requests for assistance, neglect of basic care tasks like bathing and feeding, and in some cases, abuse by frustrated or overworked staff.

2. Poor Care Planning and Quality:
– Nursing homes may fail to create and implement individualized care plans for residents, leading to a one-size-fits-all approach that does not address their unique physical, mental, and emotional needs.
– Inadequate care planning can result in residents experiencing deterioration in their health conditions, complications from chronic illnesses, infections due to poor hygiene practices, and injuries from falls or accidents.

3. Lack of Respect and Choice:
– Residents in nursing homes have the right to be treated with respect, dignity, and consideration for their preferences. However, some facilities may not prioritize these aspects of care.
– Disregarding residents’ opinions, wishes, or rights can create an environment that is dehumanizing and restrictive, leading to feelings of helplessness and frustration among residents.

4. Improper Use of Medications or Restraints:
– Nursing homes should only administer medications or use physical restraints when it is medically necessary and with the informed consent of the resident or their legal representative.
– Inappropriate use of these measures can lead to adverse effects, including drug dependency, reduced mobility, and physical and psychological harm.

5. Financial Abuse or Fraud:
– Some nursing homes engage in unethical financial practices, such as exploiting residents or their families by overcharging for services, manipulating fees, or engaging in fraudulent billing practices.
– Financial abuse can result in significant financial hardship for residents and their families, potentially affecting their ability to continue receiving care.

6. Sleep Problems or Boredom:
– Nursing homes should provide an environment that is comfortable, stimulating, and conducive to residents’ well-being. However, some facilities may fail in this regard.
– Disrupting residents’ sleep patterns, routines, or habits can negatively impact their physical and mental health. Additionally, limiting socialization opportunities and meaningful activities can lead to feelings of isolation and boredom, which can contribute to depression and other emotional issues.

It’s crucial to be aware of these common problems in nursing homes and take action if you experience or witness any of them. Reporting such issues to the appropriate authorities is essential to ensure the safety and well-being of nursing home residents. Seeking legal assistance may also be necessary to protect the rights of residents and hold the facility accountable for any wrongdoing.

Five disadvantages of living in a nursing home:

1. Lack of Privacy:
– In nursing homes, residents often have limited personal space and may need to share rooms with other residents. This lack of privacy can be uncomfortable for some individuals, especially those who are used to having their own space.
– Shared living quarters can also lead to disruptions and conflicts, as residents may have different routines and habits that can clash with each other.

2. Loss of Independence:
– Nursing homes typically have structured daily routines and activities that are designed to cater to the needs of all residents. While this structure can be beneficial for some, it may be frustrating for those who value their independence and prefer to make their own choices about their daily lives.
– Residents may have limited control over their schedules, mealtimes, and activities, which can be a significant adjustment for individuals used to more autonomy.

3. Costs:
– The expenses associated with nursing homes can be substantial. Many people rely on insurance or government programs to cover these costs, but not everyone qualifies for such assistance.
– Private pay for nursing home care can deplete savings quickly, causing financial strain for residents and their families. This financial burden can be a significant disadvantage for those without adequate resources.

4. Potential for Abuse or Neglect:
– One of the most concerning disadvantages of nursing homes is the potential for mistreatment. Due to understaffing, inadequate training, or a lack of oversight, some residents may experience abuse or neglect from caregivers or other residents.
– Instances of physical, emotional, or financial abuse can have severe physical and psychological consequences for residents, making it crucial to carefully research and choose a reputable facility.

5. Social Isolation:
– Nursing homes can sometimes be isolating environments, particularly for residents who do not have regular visits from family and friends. Limited opportunities for social interaction outside the facility can lead to feelings of loneliness and depression.
– The isolation can be exacerbated by physical limitations and health conditions that make it difficult for residents to participate in group activities or leave the facility for outings.

While nursing homes can provide necessary care and support for individuals who can no longer live independently, it’s essential to weigh these disadvantages against the benefits when considering long-term care options. It’s crucial to research and choose a facility carefully, taking into account the specific needs and preferences of the individual to ensure they receive the best possible care and quality of life.


It’s crucial for residents and their families to be aware of these rights and regulations. If there is any suspicion or concern that a nursing home is violating these rules, it’s essential to take action. Reporting any violations to the appropriate authorities is a crucial step in ensuring the safety and well-being of nursing home residents. Legal assistance may also be sought to protect the rights of the residents and hold the facility accountable for any violations.


What is the most common mistreatment in nursing homes?

The most common mistreatment in nursing homes is psychological or emotional abuse. This includes actions such as humiliation, threats, verbal assaults, manipulation, or intentional infliction of fear on elderly residents. It is crucial for nursing homes to create a safe and nurturing environment that promotes the emotional well-being of residents and prevents any form of mistreatment.

Can I put a camera in a room at a nursing home?

The regulations regarding the use of cameras in nursing home rooms vary by state. While some states allow the use of cameras to monitor the care of residents, others may have restrictions or require consent from all parties involved. It is important to familiarize yourself with the laws and regulations in your specific state before installing a camera in a nursing home room. Consulting with a legal professional can provide guidance on this matter.

What is the difference between nursing home and long-term care in the USA?

Nursing homes are a type of long-term care facility that provides 24/7 medical attention and support to individuals who require assistance with daily living activities. Long-term care can encompass a range of services, including nursing home care, assisted living, and in-home care. While nursing homes are specifically designed to provide medical care and support to individuals with complex medical needs, other long-term care options may offer varying levels of care and assistance based on individual needs and preferences. It is important to explore different options and consider the specific needs of the individual when making decisions about long-term care.

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