RI and Mass. Nursing Home Law: What You Need To Know About Federal Law

Nursing homes are federally regulated under the Nursing Home Reform Act, part of the Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1987 (“OBRA”). Congress passed OBRA due to growing concern with the poor quality of care in nursing homes, following a Congressional study by the Institute of Medicine in 1986.

OBRA and its enforcing government regulations require that a nursing home (“long term care facility”) receiving Medicare or Medicaid funding, “must provide the necessary care and services to attain or maintain the highest practical physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being” for each resident. As relevant to personal injury law, OBRA addresses numerous areas common to nursing home residents, including requirements in the following areas:

  • Daily Activities: maintain the ability, where possible, to perform daily activities such as bathing, dressing, grooming, eating, and toileting; and provide necessary services to maintain good nutrition, grooming, and personal and oral hygiene for those unable to carry out these activities;
  • Pressure Sores: not develop pressure sores unless they were unavoidable; and provide necessary treatment to promote healing, prevent infection, and prevent development of new sores for those with pressure sores;
  • Accidents: remain free of accident hazards and receive adequate supervision and assistance to prevent accidents;
  • Nutrition: maintain acceptable body weight and protein levels, where possible, and receive a therapeutic diet for nutritional problems;
  • Special needs: receive proper treatment for special needs such as foot care; and
  • Medication: remain free of significant medication errors.

See e.g., 42 C.F.R. § 483.25.

Our top rated RI nursing home injury lawyers work with these and other regulations to help protect the rights of nursing home residents throughout our Rhode Island and Massachusetts communities.