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Nursing Home Myths and Realities

Myth: Medicaid does not pay for the service you want.

Reality: Medicaid residents are entitled to the same service as other residents.

Myth: Only staff can determine the care you receive.

Reality: Residents and family have the right to participate in developing a care plan.

Myth: Staff cannot accommodate individual schedules.

Reality: A nursing home must make reasonable adjustments to honor residents' needs and preferences.

Myth: You need to hire private help.

Reality: A nursing home must provide all necessary care.

Myth: Restraints are required to prevent the resident from wandering away.

Reality: Restraints cannot be used for the nursing home's convenience or as a form of discipline.

Myth: Family visiting hours are restricted.

Reality: Family members can visit at any time of day or night.

Myth: Therapy must be discontinued because the resident is not progressing.

Reality: Therapy may be appropriate even if resident is not progressing; Medicare may pay even without current progress.

Myth: You must pay any amount set by the nursing home for extra charges.

Reality: A nursing home may only require extra charges authorized in the admission agreement.

Myth: The nursing home has no available space for residents or family members to meet.

Reality: A nursing home must provide a private space for resident or family councils.

Myth: The resident can be evicted because he or she is difficult or is refusing medical treatment.

Reality: Being difficult or refusing treatment does not justify eviction.

Source: "Twenty Common Nursing Home Problems and the Laws to Resolve Them" by Eric Carlson, J.D. Originally published in Clearinghouse Review Journal of Poverty Law and Policy, January/February 2006 39(910):51933