Code of Federal Regulations]
[Title 12, Volume 1]
[Revised as of January 1, 2003]
From the U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access
TITLE 42--PUBLIC HEALTH
CHAPTER IV--CENTERS FOR MEDICARE & MEDICAID SERVICES, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES--(Continued)
PART 483--REQUIREMENTS FOR STATES AND LONG TERM CARE FACILITIES--Table of Contents
Subpart B--Requirements for Long Term Care
Sec. 483.10 Resident rights
(j) Access and visitation rights.
(1) The resident has the right and the facility must provide immediate access to any resident by the following:
(i) Any representative of the Secretary;
(ii) Any representative of the State:
(iii) The resident's individual physician;
(iv) The State long term care
ombudsman (established under section
307(a)(12) of the Older Americans Act of 1965);
(v) The agency responsible for the protection and advocacy system for developmentally disabled individuals (established under part C of the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act);
(vi) The agency responsible for the protection and advocacy system for mentally ill individuals (established under the Protection and Advocacy for Mentally Ill Individuals Act);
(vii) Subject to the resident's right to deny or withdraw consent at any time, immediate family or other relatives of the resident; and
(viii) Subject to reasonable restrictions and the resident's right to deny or withdraw consent at any time, others who are visiting with the consent of the resident.
(2) The facility must provide reasonable access to any resident by any entity or individual that provides health, social, legal, or other services to the resident, subject to the resident's right to deny or withdraw consent at any time.
(3) The facility must allow representatives of the State Ombudsman, described in paragraph (j)(1)(iv) of this section, to examine a resident's clinical records with the permission of the resident or the
resident's legal representative, and consistent with State law.
This federal regulation applies only to nursing homes homes and only to those residents in nursing homes occupying beds designated as nursing home beds. Although the regulation has been in effect for many years now, we still get complaints about nursing homes who are trying to enforce regular "visiting hours".
As you read the following regulations, keep in mind that many of the people mentioned are only available during their normal working hours.
As a resident: This gives you the right to contact your state or local ombudsman at any time if you have complaints or suggestions regarding your care. A sign should be posted within your nursing home with the phone number of the local ombudsman and how to contact him or her.
You also have the right to contact your personal physician directly at any time if you have questions or need clarification of his or her directives.
Family members of residents have the right of immediate access to visit with them at any time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Visiting hours do not apply to family members. The resident, however, has the right to deny that access.
Keep in mind that these visits must not disturb other residents or roommates if a resident has one. If other residents are disturbed, the facility has the right to request that such meetings take place in a common area such as the dining room or an activities room in order to avoid disturbing other residents. Keep your voice low when visiting after hours. If a roommate is involved, sit close to the bed and speak directly to the resident in a quiet voice. If the roommate or other residents are not disturbed by your visits, you should have no problems visiting at any time.
For further confirmation of this ruling, use the links on the home page and go to the National Citizens Coalition for Nursing Home Reform. Eric Carlson's 20 Common Nursing Home Problems -- and How to Resolve Them is a good reference on this regulation. This book can be purchased from the National Senior Citizens Law Center.
This gives the same rights as above to any friends, advocates, or others who may wish to visit a resident. Only the resident can deny access. The "reasonable restrictions" mentioned here, however, may include visiting hours.
This opens the visitor list to anyone wishing to visit for most any reason. Only the resident can deny access.