In 1987, the federal Nursing Home Reform Law was passed as part of the Social Security Act. The law requires nursing homes to “promote and protect the rights of each resident” and places a strong emphasis on individual dignity, choice, and self-determination.

To observe the importance of the law and the rights that it protects, October was named Residents’ Rights Month, serving as an annual reminder of the respect, dignity, and rights to which all residents of long-term care facilities are entitled.

The Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care has selected “Reclaiming My Rights, My Home, My Life,” as the 2021 theme, acknowledging the impact of this past year on residents and highlights the need for residents’ rights to be recognized, recovered, and reasserted.

To celebrate Residents’ Rights Month, we’ve outlined the rights of people living in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other residential facilities:

  • The right to information, in a language you understand
  • The right to participate in all aspects of your care
  • The right to privacy and confidentiality
  • The right to make independent choices based on your needs and preferences
  • The right to participate in social, religious, and community activities
  • The right to safe and appropriate transfer and discharge, including the right to appeal decisions
  • The right to complain without fear of repercussions
  • The right to be free from discrimination, abuse, neglect, and restraints.
  • The right to organize and participate in resident groups or councils
  • The right to information about living in the community
  • The right to adequate medical care and treatment
  • The right to visits from friends, family, providers, and other people of your choosing

The Administration for Community Living funds Long-Term Care Ombudsman programs in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam to resolve problems affecting residents’ health, safety, welfare, and rights. Find local long-term care resources in your state or territory at

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