New federal nursing home laws that have recently been passed have been touted as the "most wide-ranging revision of federal rules" that has happened in the last two and a half decades. At their heart is the idea of person-centered care, that focuses on residents and gives them more control.
One change is that care plans must be made quickly. This is meant to streamline the process so that those who need specific care don't have to wait at all to get it.
The laws also address aspects of day-to-day life in a nursing home. For instance, there will now be more variety at mealtime, more snack options, and more flexibility for both. This should make it easier for residents to get the food that they want, when they want it -- as they would if they were still living at home.
Safety should also increase. Security is going to be improved where it's needed and more reviews of a resident's drug regimen will be carried out. On top of that, grievance procedures are going to be improved, and greater scrutiny will be used when examining involuntary discharges.
These are just a few example of the changes that are coming in the nursing home industry, thanks to the revamped laws. However, they show that the focus is now going to be on the elderly residents more than it has been in the past.
This should help make the nursing home experience safer and more enjoyable. It's also important for residents and family members to know what the law mandates so that they can look into their legal options if they suspect the laws were broken and negligence or abuse took place.
Source: SCPR.org, "New nursing home rules give residents more control over their care," Susan Jaffe, accessed Jan. 20, 2017