Residents’ Rights

What Are Residents’ Rights?

When individuals enter a nursing home or assisted living home, they keep all their rights as citizens, plus gain special “Residents’ Rights” under federal and state law. Facilities must post a copy of these rights in an area easily accessible to the residents, and must provide a copy to each resident upon admission. For a printout of all residents’ rights and a wide range of topics important to long term care residents please visit

The Right of Citizenship

Nursing home residents do not lose any of their rights of citizenship, including the right to vote, to religious freedom and to associate with whom they choose.

The Right to Dignity

Residents of nursing homes are honored guests and have the right to be so treated.

The Right to Privacy

Nursing home residents have the right to privacy whenever possible, including the right to privacy with their spouse, the right to have their medical and personal records treated in confidence, and the right to private, uncensored communication.

The Right to Personal Property

Nursing home residents have the right to possess and use personal property and to manage their financial affairs.

The Right of Freedom

Nursing home residents have the right to be free from mental or physical abuse and from physical or chemical restraint unless ordered by their physician.

The Right to Care

Residents have the right to equal care, treatment and services provided by the facility without discrimination.

The Right of Expression

Nursing home residents have the right to exercise their rights, including the right to file complaints and grievances without fear of reprisal.

Right to Participate in and Decide Plan of Care

Residents have the right to participate in their care conferences, be involved in planning their care on an ongoing basis, be informed in advance about care and treatment and any changes that affect their well-being. Residents also have the right to refuse care.

Right to Hold Resident and Family Meetings

Residents have the right to organize and participate in resident groups in the facility and the facility must provide a resident or family group with a meeting space.

Right to not be Required to Work

Residents have the right to refuse to perform services for the facility, unless they voluntarily have given agreement.

Right to Manage Financial Affairs

The facility must have a system for full, complete, and separate accounting of residents’ personal funds, and individual financial records must be made available upon the resident’s request.

Right to Notice of Admission Fees, Deposits, Minimum Stay Fees

Prior to admission, residents have the right to receive in writing, in an understandable language, a statement of the amount of any admission fees, deposits, pre-paid charges, or minimum stay fees required by the facility and what portion of these charges will be refunded in you leave the facility.

Right to Refunds

All refunds due are required to be refunded by the facility within thirty days from the resident’s discharge.

Right to Notice of Transfer or Discharge

Residents may not be discharged without timely and proper written notification to both the resident and the family or guardian. Residents have the right to remain in the facility, unless:

Skilled Nursing Facility

  1. It is necessary for the resident’s welfare and the resident’s needs cannot be met in the facility
  2. The resident’s health has improved sufficiently so the resident no longer needs the services provided by the facility
  3. The safety of individuals in the facility is endangered due to the clinical or behavioral status of the resident
  4. The health of individuals in the facility would otherwise be endangered
  5. The resident has failed, after reasonable and appropriate notice, to pay
  6. The facility ceases to operate

Assisted Living/RCFE

  1. Failure of resident to pay agreed upon rate for basic services within ten (10) days of due date.
  2. Failure of resident to comply with state or local law after receiving notice of the alleged violation, (e.g., drug use, assault, violation of probation, etc.).
  3. Failure of resident to follow facility policies that are in writing, are stated or referenced in the Admission Agreement and are for the purpose of making it possible for residents to live together.
  4. After formal assessment, the facility determines that it can no longer meet the resident’s changing care needs.
  5. The facility changed its purpose.

Right to Immediate Access to Ombudsman Representatives Access and Visitation Rights

The resident has the right and the facility must provide immediate access to any resident by the State long-term care ombudsman. Penalties for willful interference with the lawful actions of an ombudsman representative can be imposed by the director of the California Department of Aging (CDA) for each incident in which access is denied.