Things Nursing Homes Are Not Allowed to Do

October 30, 2023

Protecting the Vulnerable: Upholding Residents’ Rights in Nursing Homes

Have you ever been concerned about how your loved ones are treated in a nursing home? It’s a common worry, especially when we hear troubling stories from others. It’s important to be aware of things nursing homes are not allowed to do to ensure the safety and rights of our family members. If any of these boundaries are crossed, having an attorney by your side can make all the difference.

Here’s a Quick Summary of the Article:

  • Entitlement to Basic Rights:  Residents in nursing homes are entitled to dignity, privacy, and personal autonomy, ensuring their emotional well-being.
  • Common Violations:  Common violations in nursing homes include neglect, physical/emotional abuse, medication errors, isolation, denial of treatment information, and financial exploitation.
  • Involvement in Treatment:  In Florida, residents have the right to be involved in treatment decisions and can refuse treatments unless unable to give consent.
  • Financial Watchfulness:  It’s crucial to be aware of and report unauthorized financial transactions or missing personal belongings.

Our law firm, the Law Office of Andrew G. Rosenberg, P.A., has been protecting the rights of seniors in Coral Springs, Florida for over 20 years. With our in-depth understanding of nursing home regulations and genuine concern for the elderly in our community, we are here to support you every step of the way.

Are you ready to ensure your loved ones are protected? Contact the Law Office of Andrew G. Rosenberg, P.A. now to schedule a free consultation to obtain the knowledge and legal support you need.

Understanding Residents’ Rights

Nursing homes are expected to serve as sanctuaries of care, ensuring the well-being of their residents. Regrettably, not all establishments consistently follow the prescribed guidelines. Therefore, it is important to be aware of what they are not allowed to do.

Basic Rights Every Resident Deserves


At the core of every human interaction is the principle of dignity. In the context of nursing homes, this translates to treating residents as valued individuals with their own histories, personalities, and feelings. It’s not just about being polite; it’s about acknowledging their worth and contributions.
A nursing home’s environment should be one where residents never feel like just another number or a task to be managed. Instead, they should consistently experience understanding, patience, and genuine care, ensuring they always feel seen and respected.


In nursing homes, upholding privacy is a top priority. Regulations clearly state that residents should have the freedom to keep their doors closed and receive their mail unopened. Staff are required to knock and wait for permission before entering, unless it’s an emergency. 

With many residents needing assistance in daily tasks like bathing, it’s essential to protect their dignity. This might mean ensuring bathroom doors are shut, offering sheets or towels for coverage during baths, or allowing residents to manage certain personal hygiene activities on their own. Such gestures highlight the ongoing commitment to treating residents as adults who deserve both privacy and respect.

Personal Autonomy 

No matter the age or health condition, everyone desires a degree of control over their daily life. For nursing home residents, this sense of control is crucial for their self-esteem and mental well-being. Key aspects include:

  • Choice of Dress: Allowing residents to choose their outfits lets them express their identity and maintain a sense of individuality.
  • Sleep Routines: Everyone has their own natural rhythm. Whether someone is an early riser or prefers to sleep in, it’s important they have a say in when they rest and wake.
  • Social Interactions: Just as in any other setting, residents should have the freedom to decide who they spend their time with, whether it’s fellow residents, staff, or visitors. This autonomy in choosing their social circle ensures they maintain meaningful and comfortable relationships.

Each of these rights plays a vital role in ensuring nursing homes provide not just physical care, but also emotional and psychological support tailored to each individual’s needs and preferences.

Common Violations to Watch Out For in Nursing Homes

When entrusting a loved one to a nursing home, it’s essential to recognize the things nursing homes are not allowed to do. Being aware of these potential violations helps ensure their well-being. By understanding these prohibited actions, you can stay vigilant and advocate effectively for the safety and dignity of your loved one:


Neglect in nursing homes is a serious issue that can result in residents not receiving the necessary care they require. This can manifest in various ways, such as untreated medical conditions, missed medications, and unaddressed injuries. Residents often rely on staff for assistance with daily tasks, and neglecting these needs can lead to injuries, poor hygiene, and declining health. Unexplained injuries may also indicate a lack of oversight. Malnutrition, rapid weight loss, and lethargy are signs that dietary needs are not being met. Recurrent preventable illnesses are also a red flag for inadequate care. 

Physical or Emotional Abuse

This is more common than many realize. Physical abuse includes actions like slapping, pushing, or inappropriate use of restraints, which can be identified through unexplained bruises, cuts, or fractures. 

Emotional abuse is subtler, involving intimidation, humiliation, yelling, or consistently disregarding the resident’s needs and emotions. Over time, emotional abuse can lead to behavior changes like withdrawal, depression, or heightened anxiety. Unusual fear, especially around certain staff or residents, is another sign of abuse, along with hesitancy to speak up or constant nervousness. 

It’s important to maintain open communication with nursing home residents, assuring them that they can voice concerns to protect their safety and dignity.

Sexual Misconduct

It’s an unfortunate reality that residents in nursing homes can fall victim to sexual harm, perpetrated either by the staff or fellow residents. This becomes even more distressing when the affected individual is too frail or unwell to resist or voice out against such acts. 

Situations where one resident inflicts harm upon another can be especially challenging, given that a nursing home might be hesitant to take action against the offending resident. Nevertheless, nursing homes bear the responsibility of ensuring a safe environment for every resident. Thus, families have the right to take legal action if the establishment fails to prevent one resident from causing harm to another.

Medication Errors

Administering the correct medication and dosage is crucial in nursing homes. Mistakes can happen, leading to severe consequences. Medication errors can occur due to mix-ups in prescriptions, miscommunication among staff, or oversight. Wrong medication or dosage can cause overdose symptoms like drowsiness, rapid heartbeat, or loss of consciousness. Allergic reactions may result in skin rashes, difficulty breathing, or swelling. Additionally, behavioral changes like agitation, confusion, or mood swings can occur. 

Families should stay informed about their relative’s medication routine and watch for any inconsistencies or adverse reactions. Being proactive can prevent harm and ensure proper care.

Isolation and Visit Limitations

Loneliness is a significant worry for nursing home residents, particularly when visitation restrictions are enforced. While some facilities may have strict schedules or prohibit certain visitors, like children, it is important to note that nursing homes cannot refuse visitors during reasonable hours. 

Everyone, including family, friends, religious groups, attorneys, and children, has the right to visit. Nursing homes must adhere to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to guarantee that visitors, especially those with disabilities, have unrestricted access during reasonable visiting hours. Repeated mentions of loneliness or signs of depression may indicate unfair isolation, which could be a form of punishment or control.

Denying Information on Treatment Changes

Nursing home residents in Florida have the right to be involved in their treatment decisions. They can refuse treatments unless they are unable to give consent. 

If there are changes in their health or a different treatment is suggested, they should be promptly informed and given the opportunity to discuss and ask questions. If they disagree, they can request a meeting with the healthcare team. If they choose not to take medication or undergo a procedure, the facility must inform them or their legal representative about the potential consequences and document the refusal in their medical records. The nursing home should still provide other agreed-upon services according to their care plan.

Theft or Financial Exploitation

Financial exploitation and theft are distressing forms of elder abuse in nursing homes. Personal belongings, such as jewelry and electronics, may disappear, causing significant distress. Financial exploitation can occur secretly, including unauthorized withdrawals and coerced signing of financial documents. 

Loved ones must remain vigilant, regularly checking bank statements and communicating with residents. The emotional and financial consequences can be profound, emphasizing the importance of awareness and timely intervention.

If you notice any of these warning signs, take them seriously. Seek the guidance of an experienced attorney in Coral Springs, Florida to ensure that your loved one’s rights are protected. Remember, they deserve care and respect in every aspect of their stay.

Call Our Coral Springs, Florida Attorneys Now!

If you or a loved one has experienced a violation of their rights in a nursing home, don’t stay silent. You have the right to know the things nursing homes are not allowed to do and to fight against any violations. Our attorneys in Coral Springs, Florida, are experienced in handling cases involving nursing home violations, as well as estate planning and personal injury. We are dedicated to seeking justice for our clients and providing them with the legal support they need. Don’t let your rights be violated – schedule a free consultation with us today to take the first step towards justice.

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