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Things Nursing Homes Are Not Allowed To Do

Christian Worstell

by Christian Worstell | Published December 21, 2023 | Reviewed by John Krahnert

There are things nursing homes are not allowed to do to residents, such as refusing care, restraining nursing home residents, or providing inadequate care. 

No Discrimination Allowed in Assisted Living Communities

Nursing homes cannot refuse to provide care or amenities based on protected characteristics like age, race, religion, gender, or disability status. The U.S. The Department of Health and state laws have implemented stringent policies to guarantee fair treatment for all inhabitants.

Many state laws have additional protections, such as language assistance services for non-English speakers or specialized care plans for individuals with dementia. 

Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing homes must treat residents with respect and dignity, and abuse or neglect in any form violates nursing home reform laws.

Nursing homes rely on stellar reputations and their promise to provide care, but sometimes nursing home staff members go against this promise and treat seniors with inadequate care. 

Types of inhumane treatment of the elderly includes:

  • Physical Abuse: Hitting, slapping, or not providing proper care such as allowing poor hygiene of nursing home residents.
  • Emotional Abuse: Verbal threats or humiliation.
  • Sexual Abuse: Unwanted touching or advances.

If you suspect discrimination, report it to a nursing home abuse lawyer or directly to the Department of Health and Human Services. 

Restraint of Nursing Home Residents

Assisted living communities cannot use any physical restraints or chemical restraints (like drugs) to discipline nursing home residents for the convenience of the staff. Federal law outlines that seclusion or restraints may only be used to ensure the safety of the staff and residents.

If restraints impede proper care of residents, contact a nursing home abuse lawyer. 

Spending Private Time with Visitors

According to state laws, blocking visitors is one of the things nursing homes are not allowed to do. Residents have the right to see visitors at any time, and to have private time with them outside of the supervision of staff. If a nursing home denies this service, it is outside of the medical care plan they are obligated to provide. 


What is the biggest complaint in nursing homes?

In nursing homes, the most common complaint involves inadequate staffing levels, which can lead to neglect and poor quality of care for residents. This issue often results from high staff turnover rates and a lack of proper training for caregivers. Research has shown that higher staffing levels are associated with better resident outcomes.

What are 5 disadvantages to living in a nursing home?

  1. Lack of privacy: Residents may have limited personal space and share rooms with others.
  2. Loss of independence: Daily routines and activities may be dictated by the facility's schedule.
  3. Costs: Nursing homes can be expensive, especially if not covered by insurance or government programs.
  4. Potential for abuse or neglect: Due to understaffing or insufficient training, some residents might experience mistreatment.
  5. Social isolation: Limited opportunities for social interaction outside the facility can contribute to loneliness and depression among residents.

What nursing home abuse is most common?

The most prevalent form of abuse in nursing homes is psychological or emotional abuse. This type of maltreatment includes actions such as humiliation, threats, verbal assaults, manipulation, or intentional infliction of fear on elderly residents. 

One study found that approximately two-thirds (64%) of staff members admitted to committing at least one act of psychological aggression towards their patients within a year period.

What factors contribute to unsafe conditions for patients in the nursing home setting?

A variety of factors contribute to unsafe conditions including:

  • Inadequate staffing levels.
  • Poorly trained or unqualified staff members.
  • Insufficient supervision and oversight of care practices.
  • Lack of proper infection control measures, leading to increased risk for disease transmission.

A combination of these factors can compromise the quality and safety of care provided in nursing homes. Improving these conditions is essential for ensuring resident well-being.


There are many things nursing homes are not allowed to do, such as refusing care or discriminating based on race, gender, or religion. The staff must treat residents with dignity and respect, and provide proper medical care. 

Elderly individuals and their families should be aware of these regulations to ensure they receive quality care in a safe environment. If a nursing home denies this care, contact state officials for assistance. 

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