Rights Of Nursing Home Residents: Privacy & Dignity

In this week’s blogs, we’ll discuss the rights of nursing home residents. If you have a family member or friend residing in a Pennsylvania nursing home, it is necessary to always maintain a vigilant watch for any actions by facility personnel that may violate the rights of residents.

Laws enacted by Congress (Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987) and Pennsylvania (Health Care Facilities Act of 1979) empower nursing home residents with a wide variety of rights. They include what you would hope for and expect – rights related to physical treatment, access, privacy, and dignity. They even extend to a resident’s right to be compensated in accordance with State and Federal labor laws for labor performed on behalf of the nursing home facility.

Pennsylvania nursing home residents have the right to privacy, and to keep and use their personal property provided these actions do not interfere with the rights, health, or safety of others. A resident possesses the right to privacy of self.

The right to privacy and the right to be treated with dignity and respect may take many forms:


  • Nursing home facilities must treat residents with dignity and privacy for personal bathing and toiletry needs and endeavors.
  • Curtains should be used when a nursing home resident is in the process of bathing or dressing.
  • Bathroom doors and bath curtains should be closed while a nursing home resident is using the bathroom, bath, or shower.
  • No person shall enter a bathroom without knocking beforehand, except in an emergency situation.


  • A nursing home resident shall have easy access to a telephone in the home with the ability to make calls privately.
  • A nursing home resident shall not be charged for toll-free calls.


  • A nursing home resident has the right to receive and send mail.
  • Neither outgoing nor incoming mail may be opened or read by staff unless the resident requests.
  • Mail must arrive unopened, unless a nursing home resident requests assistance or otherwise.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury resulting from any type of nursing home neglect or abuse, contact Powell Law at (570) 961-0777. Our decades of experience make us the clear and obvious choice for all types of legal representation in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and surrounding areas. The consultation is FREE, and you don’t pay anything unless we win. Our attorneys, past and present, have represented motor vehicle accident victims for 113 years. Call today!

Rights Of Nursing Home Residents: Privacy & Dignity

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