Georgia has a law called the Nursing Home Residents' Bill of Rights, which gives to each nursing home resident a right to:
Exercise his or her civil and property rights, like voting, making a will, managing his or her personal affairs and finances, practicing his or her religion, and meeting and associating with people of his or her choice.
Know in detail what his or her medical condition is, what treatments are possible, and what the side effects and risks of each treatment are.
Receive care, treatment, and services adequate and appropriate for his or her condition.
Choose among different forms of treatment, participate in a care and treatment plan, refuse treatment by a particular doctor and request a different doctor, or refuse treatment altogether.
Object to an involuntary discharge or transfer from the home and have 30 days advance, written notice of an involuntary discharge or transfer.
Be given 15 days advance, written notice of a proposed involuntary transfer to another bed in the same nursing home.
Read all printed forms he or she is asked to sign.
Be treated with dignity and respect, and be free from any physical or chemical restraint or any form of isolation used for convenience or discipline.
Have restraints used only to protect the resident from immediate injury to himself or herself or others, only with prior examination and authorization by a doctor, and only for a specified time period.
Be examined in private and have privacy for personal visits, telephone calls, writing and reading of mail, dressing, bathing, and using the toilet.
Visit privately with the resident's spouse and share a room with the spouse if both are residents and space permits.
Have medical records kept confidential.
Refuse to be used as a subject for teaching or research purposes.
Use tobacco and consume alcoholic beverages (with certain limits).
Wake up and go to sleep at times of his or her choice.
Enter and leave the home as he or she chooses.
Keep and use personal belongings as space permits.
Have visitation hours for at least 12 straight hours per day.
Inspect and receive a copy of his or her medical reports.
Choose his or her pharmacy.
Voluntarily discharge himself or herself.
Voice grievances and participate in a voluntary residents' council. (Families may participate in a voluntary family council as well.)
Know when a staff member enters the resident's room, unless he or she is asleep or there is an emergency situation.
Be permitted to manage his or her own financial affairs.
Have any funds over $150 kept in an interest-bearing account insured by agencies of, or corporations chartered by, the state or federal government.
In the event of the resident's involuntary discharge or transfer from the nursing home, have help in finding an appropriate, alternative place to live.
To obtain the booklet "Long-Term Care Facilities: Residents' Bill of Rights," which lists the rights described above, contact the Standards and Licensure Section, Office of Regulatory Services, Georgia Department of Human Resources, 2 Peachtree Street, N.E., 31st Floor, Atlanta, Georgia 30303 or call (404) 657-5850. There is a small charge for the booklet. You can also click on "Legal Rights of Nursing Home Residents" on the home page of this web site to see the contents of a pamphlet compiled and published by the Elder Law Committee, Young Lawyers Division of the State Bar of Georgia.