Virginia Law: Resident Rights

Rights and Responsibilities

Rights and Responsibilities of Residents

The rights and responsibilities of Assisted Living residents are governed by state regulations and are designed to protect the well-being and dignity of residents while outlining their obligations within the facility.

Facilities are required to provide residents with a copy of their rights upon admission, and they should have a process for addressing any violations or concerns related to these rights.

Families and residents should review the specific policies of the facility to ensure that they are comfortable with the terms and conditions of residency. Additionally, regulations and requirements may change over time, so its advisable to consult with the Virginia Department of Social Services or legal counsel for the most up-to-date information.

  • Dignity and Respect: Residents have the right to be treated with dignity, respect, and consideration at all times.
  • Privacy: Residents have the right to privacy in their personal affairs, including visits, communications, and the use of personal possessions.
  • Freedom from Abuse: Residents have the right to be free from physical, emotional, or psychological abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
  • Choice and Autonomy: Residents have the right to make choices about their daily activities, including meal choices, schedules, and participation in social and recreational activities.
  • Quality of Life: Residents have the right to live in a safe, clean, and comfortable environment that promotes their physical and emotional well-being.
  • Healthcare: Residents have the right to receive appropriate healthcare services and access to their medical records.
  • Informed Consent: Residents have the right to be fully informed about their care and treatment options, and they have the right to give or refuse informed consent for any treatment or procedure.
  • Complaints and Grievances: Residents have the right to voice complaints or concerns about their care without fear of retaliation and to expect a timely response.
  • Financial Transparency: Residents have the right to a clear and understandable explanation of their financial responsibilities and the facility’s policies regarding payment.
  • Visitation: Residents have the right to receive visitors, including family and friends, and to establish relationships with people inside and outside the facility.

63.2-1808. Rights and responsibilities of residents of assisted living facilities; certification of licensure.

A.  Any resident of an assisted living facility has the rights and responsibilities enumerated in this section. The operator or administrator of an assisted living facility shall establish written policies and procedures to ensure that, at the minimum, each person who becomes a resident of the assisted living facility:

1. Is fully informed, prior to or at the time of admission and during the resident’s stay, of his rights and of all rules and expectations governing the resident’s conduct, responsibilities, and the terms of the admission agreement; evidence of this shall be the resident’s written acknowledgment of having been so informed, which shall be filed in his record;

2. Is fully informed, prior to or at the time of admission and during the resident’s stay, of services available in the facility and of any related charges; this shall be reflected by the resident’s signature on a current resident’s agreement retained in the resident’s file;

3. Unless a committee or conservator has been appointed, is free to manage his personal finances and funds regardless of source; is entitled to access to personal account statements reflecting financial transactions made on his behalf by the facility; and is given at least a quarterly accounting of financial transactions made on his behalf when a written delegation of responsibility to manage his financial affairs is made to the facility for any period of time in conformance with state law;

4. Is afforded confidential treatment of his personal affairs and records and may approve or refuse their release to any individual outside the facility except as otherwise provided in law and except in case of his transfer to another care-giving facility;

5. Is transferred or discharged only when provided with a statement of reasons, or for nonpayment for his stay, and is given reasonable advance notice; upon notice of discharge or upon giving reasonable advance notice of his desire to move, shall be afforded reasonable assistance to ensure an orderly transfer or discharge; such actions shall be documented in his record;

6. In the event a medical condition should arise while he is residing in the facility, is afforded the opportunity to participate in the planning of his program of care and medical treatment at the facility and the right to refuse treatment;

7. Is not required to perform services for the facility except as voluntarily contracted pursuant to a voluntary agreement for services that states the terms of consideration or remuneration and is documented in writing and retained in his record;

8. Is free to select health care services from reasonably available resources;

9. Is free to refuse to participate in human subject experimentation or to be party to research in which his identity may be ascertained;

10. Is free from mental, emotional, physical, sexual, and economic abuse or exploitation; is free from forced isolation, threats or other degrading or demeaning acts against him; and his known needs are not neglected or ignored by personnel of the facility;

11. Is treated with courtesy, respect, and consideration as a person of worth, sensitivity, and dignity;

12. Is encouraged, and informed of appropriate means as necessary, throughout the period of stay to exercise his rights as a resident and as a citizen; to this end, he is free to voice grievances and recommend changes in policies and services, free of coercion, discrimination, threats or reprisal;

13. Is permitted to retain and use his personal clothing and possessions as space permits unless to do so would infringe upon rights of other residents;

14. Is encouraged to function at his highest mental, emotional, physical and social potential;

15. Is free of physical or mechanical restraint except in the following situations and with appropriate safeguards:

a. As necessary for the facility to respond to unmanageable behavior in an emergency situation, which threatens the immediate safety of the resident or others;

b. As medically necessary, as authorized in writing by a physician, to provide physical support to a weakened resident;

16. Is free of prescription drugs except where medically necessary, specifically prescribed, and supervised by the attending physician, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner;

17. Is accorded respect for ordinary privacy in every aspect of daily living, including but not limited to the following:

a. the care of his personal needs except as assistance may be needed;

b. In any medical examination or health-related consultations the resident may have at the facility;

c. In communications, in writing or by telephone;

d. During visitations with other persons;

e. In the resident’s room or portion thereof; residents shall be permitted to have guests or other residents in their rooms unless to do so would infringe upon the rights of other residents; staff may not enter a resident’s room without making their presence known except in an emergency or in accordance with safety oversight requirements included in regulations of the Board;

f. In visits with his spouse, if both are residents of the facility, they are permitted but not required to share a room unless otherwise provided in the residents’ agreements;

18. Is permitted to meet with and participate in activities of social, religious, and community groups at his discretion unless medically contraindicated as documented by his physician, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner in his medical record;

19. Is fully informed, as evidenced by the written acknowledgment of the resident or his legal representative, prior to or at the time of admission and during his stay, that he should exercise whatever due diligence he deems necessary with respect to information on any sex offenders registered pursuant to Chapter 9 (§ 9.1-900 et seq.) of Title 9.1, including how to obtain such information. Upon request, the assisted living facility shall assist the resident, prospective resident, or the legal representative of the resident or prospective resident in accessing this information and provide the resident, prospective resident, or the legal representative of the resident or prospective resident with printed copies of the requested information; and

20. Is informed, in writing and upon request, of whether the assisted living facility maintains the minimum liability coverage, as established by the Board pursuant to subdivision A 10 of § 63.2-1805.

B. If the resident is unable to fully understand and exercise the rights and responsibilities contained in this section, the facility shall require that a responsible individual, of the resident’s choice when possible, designated in writing in the resident’s record, be made aware of each item in this section and the decisions that affect the resident or relate to specific items in this section; a resident shall be assumed capable of understanding and exercising these rights unless a physician determines otherwise and documents the reasons for such determination in the resident’s record.

C. The rights and responsibilities of residents shall be printed in at least 12-point type and posted conspicuously in a public place in all assisted living facilities. The facility shall also post the name and telephone number of the regional licensing supervisor of the Department, the Adult Protective Services’ toll-free telephone number, as well as the toll-free telephone number for the Virginia Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, any sub-state ombudsman program serving the area, and the toll-free number of the Commonwealth’s designated protection and advocacy system.

D. The facility shall make its policies and procedures for implementing this section available and accessible to residents, relatives, agencies, and the general public.

E. The provisions of this section shall not be construed to restrict or abridge any right that any resident has under law.

F. Each facility shall provide appropriate staff training to implement each resident’s rights included in this section.

G. The Board shall adopt regulations as necessary to carry out the full intent of this section.

H. It shall be the responsibility of the Commissioner to ensure that the provisions of this section are observed and implemented by assisted living facilities as a condition to the issuance, renewal, or continuation of the license required by this article.