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Legislative Notes


Nursing home residents are among the most helpless individuals in our society; their dependence on institutions for food, shelter, and personal care has cost them control over their own lives. “Because of the vulnerability of the aged population of the nursing home and the fact that most of them will reside in these homes for the rest of their lives, society bears a special obligation to ensure that the quality of their care is satisfactory and their treatment humane.” Ohio has responded to this obligation by enacting H.B. 600, which is directed at improving the care of Ohio nursing home residents. Acclaimed as model legislation, H.B. 600 “[e]numerates thirty rights of nursing home patients concerning safety, treatment, privacy, civil rights, restraints, smoking and drinking, information, financial affairs, transfer and discharge, [and] grievances …”

H.B. 600 was necessary because federal and state regulations have heretofore largely failed to ensure humane treatment9 of all nursing home residents, whose special needs and rights have often been sacrificed to administrative convenience, efficiency, and economy. Consequently, residents have suffered abuses, neglect, and crass commercialism, which have been widely publicized and documented. The Patients’ Bill of Rights was enacted after considerable debate and revision. Upon ratification, this legislation enumerated thirty specific rights guaranteed to Ohio nursing home residents as well as concrete implementation and enforcement provisions.

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