Common Misunderstandings about the Care Required in Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities in New York State


There are many misunderstandings about the responsibilities of nursing homes and assisted living facilities under the laws of the State of New York. This paper is intended to touch upon a number of these subjects and highlight the misconceptions on the part of the spouses or children, (who sometimes become plaintiffs in lawsuits), of the residents of such facilities.


On Saturday, January 1, 2011, The New York Times published an article, entitled, Giving Alzheimer’s Patients Their Way, Even Chocolate, describing a nursing home In Arizona that allows a resident with Alzheimer’s to do whatever she wants – bathe at 2 a.m., feed a doll she calls her baby, and even eat chocolate whenever she feels like it. Prior to the decision to give the resident more freedom in her schedule and her desires, she was striking other residents and fighting with the staff. Now she is calm and contented. Does this sound strange? It should not. While perhaps the unlimited chocolate is a bit extreme, giving a resident at a nursing home unfettered freedom is consistent with the law in New York which requires that all facilities caring for the elderly be “restraint-free.”

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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