Right to Privacy in Assisted Living


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For a person that resides in an assisted living facility, it is important to have the privacy necessary to live without interference and to increase the quality of life. However, how much latitude the facility has in these circumstances may depend on the state and the circumstances of the resident that moves into a unit.

The loved one that must move to an assisted living facility should receive adequate care when in the unit. This is the primary concern of the family when an elderly person cannot take care of himself or herself after an advanced age. However, these communities have no national regulation that a nursing home may receive. This leads to different laws based on the state where the assisted living facility resides. This could alter what entitlements the person has when living in the unit as well as what the facility will provide. Then, it is essential to know what state laws govern these centers.

Community Factors

Some staff must have at least 25 hours of training before becoming employees of the facility. Other states may increase or decrease this based on other elements such as education and different work experience. Some communities have an attractive façade on the outside, but they may harbor substandard care inside. The units may look nice, but the community has little resources for the elderly that live within. Others appear well worn but have the type of care a loved one wants for his or her parents or extended family members.

Rights of Residents

There is a Bill of Rights for residents of assisted living facilities, and these are available from the representative that gives the resident a copy. The list is often long and extensive. The resident should have a primary right of treatment of dignity and respect. Informed choice and opportunity in selecting or refusing services as well as responsibility for the consequences of accepting and refusing them. The person has the right to participate in the care or service plan attached to the facility, and he or she may request updates to the plan at any time. The resident may acquire data about the costs of service and living in the community.

The person has the right to his or her individual rights that do not violate the safety of others. This resident should remain free from neglect, exploitation in finances and freedom from abuse in any manner. Services should protect privacy and dignity of the resident. Records are available to the resident upon request. Medical and other records remain confidential unless the law provides for a different situation. The resident may communicate and associate with anyone he or she chooses privately. This includes sending and receiving mail and access to a telephone. The facility may not restrain or use medications that cause psychoactive effects.

Violations of the Bill of Rights

Assisted living has a standard of care necessary to provide to residents. These citizens living in the community have an entitlement to the rights presented forth by the principles the facility should adhere to for all individuals living there. However, violations do occur, and the state laws frequently cause complications depending on where the facility housing exists. This could lead to a legal battle against the center. However, simple communication with those that run the facility is important. This could lead to a resolution to the conflict. The right to privacy is important, and any violation may lead to further problems.

Because those residing in the assisted living facility have the right to privacy, the staff and owners have no right to record or tap into the units for any reason. This includes when family or friends visit or during the normal daily functions the resident goes through. If recording and transmitting devices exist in the unit, the facility may face serious legal action. It is important to consult with a lawyer if any of these machines are in a person’s living unit. A lawyer may need to gather more evidence before pursuing a case against the facility. However, at the very least, a remedy to the situation is possible.

Legal Help in the Right to Privacy in Assisted Living

Because the right to privacy extends to those living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, a violation could incur a legal problem that ends in court. When multiple residents face similar issues, this could end with the facility paying severe fines and removing the machines. It is important to protect the rights of the elderly through legal representation.


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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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