A number of legal protections apply to both those who receive and provide home health care — some rooted in the written contract the patient and care agency sign, and some afforded by state and federal laws that regulate such care.
A patient’s rights are guaranteed under state and federal laws. Home health agencies must comply with these legal standards — or risk losing their licenses. Most home health care agencies require clients to sign a written contract specifying their rights related to treatment and the relationship with the agency before any care begins; that contract is another source for the client’s legal rights.
It is a good idea to review the rights and responsibilities outlined here and compare them to those specified in the contract to make sure services are delivered as promised.
Individuals receiving home health care have the rights to:
- Information about the plans for their care, service costs, and changes in care and agency policies
- Quality care and treatment — which includes rights to help plan care, receive safe and adequate care, and get referrals to more fitting care if necessary
- Privacy and dignity in their care and medical records
- Responses to complaints about treatment and services, including a procedure for promptly hearing and rectifying any complaints
Patients are obligated to:
- Notify the provider of any changes in conditions, schedules, and care preferences
- Follow prescribed care or accept the consequences
- Report problems with services
- Pay for services as agreed
- Provide a safe environment and show respect for home health care personnel and their property
If a home health care agency cannot meet an individual’s needs, it has the right to refuse to accept a client — and to make a referral to another agency.