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Placing someone in a group home or assisted living facility in Arizona can be an emotional time for family members. However, families must understand the legal rights of their loved ones. That’s because they have the power to pursue compensation through the courts if a residential facility breaks these requirements. When families know the laws that protect group home residents, they can start legal action if a loved one experiences neglect, abuse, exploitation, or bullying.
All group home residents in Arizona have rights and protections under the law. Most of these rights come from federal legislation and are similar to protections for nursing home residents.
Group home residents have the right to be treated with respect. That means a loved one can decide when to go to bed, wake up, eat meals, go to the bathroom, and participate in activities. If a facility forces a resident to do something they don’t want to do, that could be abuse.
A group home cannot discriminate against a resident because of race, color, age, sex, disability, religion, or country of origin. The Department of Health and Human Services can enforce this discrimination law.
Rights as a U.S. Citizen
A group home resident who is a U.S. citizen has the freedom to exercise rights such as voting in elections, applying for federal employment, and obtaining a U.S. passport.
Group home staff cannot abuse residents under any circumstances. That means no verbal, sexual, mental, or physical abuse. If any of these things happen in a care home environment, family members can sue the facility for compensation. As per federal law, a group home must investigate all cases of suspected abuse within five working days and then report their findings to the police.
Discharged From a Group Home
A group home cannot discharge a resident from its facility unless:
- The resident is a threat to the welfare, safety, or health of themselves or others.
- The resident’s health has improved and they no longer require group home care.
- The resident or resident’s family hasn’t paid for group home services.
- The group home closes down.
Group home staff must notify a doctor if a resident has been injured or involved in an accident. Otherwise, the facility could be liable for neglect. Employees must also alert a healthcare professional if a resident’s physical or mental health declines.
An individual has various privacy rights when living in a group home. These rights include making and receiving private calls, sending and receiving private mail, and sharing a room with a spouse.
A group home resident must receive the care they need. That care might include medication, exercise, physiotherapy, etc.
A group home must allow a resident to access their bank account and financial records. These facilities cannot withhold funds from a resident or spend their money without permission.
Spending Time With Loved Ones
Group home residents can spend time with family and friends for as long as they like unless these interactions interfere with the care or privacy of other residents.
Residents in group homes don’t have to take part in activities with other residents. Staff can’t force someone to participate in something they don’t want to do as this could be considered abuse.
Exercising Group and Nursing Home Rights
Group home residents have the right to complain to their facility without fear of abuse. The group home must also tell residents about their rights and responsibilities when living in a facility in a language they understand. This typically happens when a person enters one of these environments for the first time or when families are researching nursing homes and group homes.
A Final Word
Family members should understand the rights and protections of a relative when researching group homes in Arizona. By knowing the law, families can identify the first signs of neglect or abuse before the problem gets worse. Consulting with a qualified nursing home abuse and neglect attorney can help families resolve a negative situation and protect their loved ones.
Martin J. Solomon is a principal at Solomon & Relihan PC and has been licensed to practice law in Arizona since 1970. He practices exclusively in the area of personal injury litigation, with an emphasis on nursing home abuse and neglect. Martin is a graduate of the University of Arizona College of Law, a past president of the Arizona Trial Lawyers Association, and has served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Arizona Center for Disability Law and the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest. He is a member of the Nursing Home Litigation Group in the American Association for Justice (formerly the American Trial Lawyers Association), the National Citizens’ Coalition for Nursing Home Reform and the Maricopa Elder Abuse Prevent Prevention Alliance.