Visitors to nursing homes throughout New York State and Northern New Jersey have most likely encountered this directive: “Sorry, we need you to leave the room now as we are going to attend to your loved one”.  Obsequiously, and with nary a second thought, we comply.

Recently, we’ve come to wonder why most nursing homes make this their standard practice.

Why are family and friends asked to leave the room?  Why do we not ask “why”?  Does the nursing home have a legitimate reason for this directive?

The answer, as one might suspect, is easy – or perhaps not so easy to answer.  Let’s delve into this a bit.

New York State and Northern New Jersey Nursing Home Law

Paramount to the rights and responsibilities of a nursing home to a resident is dignity and respect.  A nursing home must do their utmost to respect the quality of life of every person in their charge.  All practicable care is required by law and statute.

So, why are visitors directed to leave the room when their loved one is being attended to? Is it because the nursing home is maintaining the resident’s privacy? Is it because they are not changed or cleaned in accordance with the standard of care?  Or is it possible, that the nursing home does not want the resident’s body to be observed?

Certainly, and without question, the resident has the right to have family/friends respect their privacy.  Should the resident ask for, or even tacitly want, privacy it must be respected.  What about the resident who is uncomfortable in asking for this?  Perhaps they are embarrassed, don’t want to offend a visitor or staff, or cannot express themselves?

The answer, we submit, is surprising simple.  Upon admission, and/or every time the residents’ Care Plan is revised, and a simple section for this question/answer.  Every resident in a nursing home has a Health Care Proxy and/or Power of Attorney.  That person makes decisions when their loved one cannot.  It should be no different here.

Why is it that we are asked to leave the room?

Is there something not to be seen?  Are they considered about possible legal accountability?  We submit that the answer, regrettably, is more often “yes” as opposed to “no”.  Why do we feel this way?  For many reasons.  For starters, when a resident does have a bedsore for example, every facility that we know of has a “no photography policy”.  They will do their utmost to prevent you from taking photographs of the affected area.

We certainly understand the challenges that staff face daily in caring for residents.  But this does not entitle the nursing home administrators to a free pass.  Hire, train, and pay staff.

While the industry will punch back with arguments about privacy and dignity, the undeniable fact remains that there is no prohibition to family/friends remaining in the resident’s room during these situations.

New York State and Northern New Jersey Nursing Home Advocates

If you or someone you know is injured, please consider contacting Adams Law Firm, P.C. We have a successfully advocated on behalf of those injured due to harm, abuse and neglect throughout New York State and Northern New Jersey. There is no legal fee until we are successful.

Should you have any question, please contact us toll free at 888 MY 911 LAW (888.699.1152), or by email through our contact form here.

Thank you.

Learn more about Nursing Home Abuse in New York State

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