CLRP

Nursing Homes

CLRP will represent nursing home resident applicants that the program has previously served or who are not served by the Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities and meet CLRP’s eligibility requirements. The placement of an individual with mental illness in a nursing home can raise many issues regarding the legal rights of that person. The first is whether the person needs to be in a nursing home at all or could live in the community. Federal law (link) mandates that a preadmission screening process be completed to determine whether persons being admitted to a nursing home have a serious mental illness. This process also makes recommendations for the mental health services for the person, and under state law (link) these plans are reviewed when the Department of Health conducts annual surveys. In addition, the community integration mandate of the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits the unnecessary institutionalization of persons with disabilities. In addition, state laws relating to conservatorships including Public Act 05-155 restrict the right of a conservator to place an individual in a nursing home.

There are two programs that offer community based services for persons with psychiatric disabilities seeking diversion or discharge from a nursing home. The first is a Medicaid program operated by DMHAS that will cover a broad range of community services as an alternative to nursing home placement. The second is a special program called Money Follows the Person, operated by the department of Social Services, that will serve persons who have been in nursing homes for six months or more and will qualify for the Medicaid program. Both programs have housing funds for participants.

Second, there are questions regarding the adequacy of the treatment provided in the facility. Connecticut has enacted a Bill of Rights for nursing home residents that outlines their rights and incorporates federal regulations that requires a nursing home to “provide services and activities to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental and psychosocial well-being of each resident in accordance with a written plan of care.” Issues are sometimes raised about the administration of psychotropic medications for nursing home residents.

Third, there are questions regarding the use of locked wards by many nursing homes, and whether decisions to place individuals in these units is appropriate or discriminatory.