There are 12 states in the Southeast region of the United States. Depending on what state you live in, there will be different laws regulating the standard of care in nursing homes and your rights as a resident.
In the District of Columbia, nursing homes that have 100 beds or more must have a licensed nurse on duty 24 hours a day. Written policies regarding resident care, nursing, physician services, emergency care, dental services, and use of restraints must be available for all patients and families to review.
The state of Maryland requires that nursing facilities have a registered nurse on duty every day of the week during the daytime operating hours. Every nursing home must work with a pharmacy consultant to make sure that residents are receiving proper medication. The state also requires that every resident is assigned a physician within the first 30 days after admission.
The North Carolina Division of Health Service is responsible regulating facilities and providing education regarding state requirements. North Carolina has a Long Term Care Ombudsman program that helps protect the rights of residents and advocates for them. Residents can contact the Long Term Care Ombudsman if they have issues, complaints, or reports of abuse.
The state of South Carolina requires that nursing homes and relevant agencies help educate the public regarding nursing home abuse and what qualifies as abuse. The state also protects every resident’s rights to free from physical and psychological abuse.
Nursing homes are regulated and monitored by the Division of Long Term Care in the Virginia Department of Health. The division also licenses and certifies nursing homes within the state. As according to state law, facilities are inspected every two years before their license is extended.
The laws in West Virginia are meant to promote and protect nursing home residents’ rights to health and dignity. Residents are asked to give feedback about nursing home care so that the state can better monitor and evaluate the quality of nursing homes. West Virginia requires that all facilities meet the nutritional, medical, recreational, rehabilitation, and pharmaceutical needs of each resident. Nursing homes in the state are regulated by the West Virginia Department of Health.
In Alabama, state law requires that nursing homes help patients maintain their independence and dignity as much as possible. The Division of Health Provider Standards within the Alabama Department of Public Health has the responsibility to provide information to citizens of Alabama and to help them select high quality nursing homes for their family members.
The state of Kentucky has passed laws to protect the rights of nursing home residents to live with dignity and self-determination. Residents have a right to communicate with others and a right to meet with individuals inside and outside of the facility. The Kentucky Long Term Care Ombudsman program advocates for nursing home residents and their families and acts a resource if residents have questions or complaints.
According to Mississippi State law, all nursing facilities must have a registered nurse available every day of the week during daytime working hours. The fulltime Director of Nursing Services in each facility must also be a registered nurse. Licensing and regulating of nursing homes is overseen by the Mississippi Department of Health.
Tennessee nursing home facilities are regulated and inspected by the Board of Nursing Home Administrators which is part of the Tennessee Department of Health. In order to become a nursing home staff member, an individual must become licensed with the Board.
“Board of Nursing Home Administrators.” TN Department of Health. TN Department of Health. Web. 27 Sep 2013. <http://health.state.tn.us/boards/NHA/index.htm>.
“Nursing Homes.” North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services. North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services. Web. 27 Sep 2013. <http://www.ncdhhs.gov/aging/nhome.htm>.
“Nursing Home Information.” South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. Web. 27 Sep 2013. <http://www.scdhec.gov/health/licen/ncinfo.htm>.
“Series 13: Nursing Home Licensure Rule.” West Virginia Division of Health. West Virginia Division of Health. Web. 27 Sep 2013. <http://www.hpm.umn.edu/nhregsplus/NHRegs_by_State/West Virginia/WV Complete Regs.pdf>.
“State-Initiated Nursing Home Nurse Staffing Ratios: Annotated Review of the Literature.” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Web. 27 Sep 2013. <http://aspe.hhs.gov/daltcp/reports/2003/ratiolit.htm>.
“The Division of Long Term Care.” Virginia Department of Health. Virginia Department of Health. Web. 27 Sep 2013. <http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/OLC/longtermcare/>.