Which doctor's orders take priority - a primary care doctor at a nursing facility or a specialist?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 14, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

Does a primary care doctor of a nursing home have the right to destroy the orders or prescriptions of a specialist that the resident has been seeing for years?

Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a Caring.com senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

Federal law spells out some very clear rights nursing home residents retain with regard to their own medical condition and treatment.

Specifically, residents have the rights to:

--Be fully informed by a physician of his or her total health status and to be afforded the opportunity to participate in the total plan of care.

--Be fully informed in advance about care and treatment and of any changes in care or treatment.

--Participate in planning care and treatment or changes in care or treatment unless adjudged incompetent or otherwise found to be incapacitated under state law.

--Self-administer medications unless doing so would be dangerous.

--Choose a personal attending physician.

--Consent to or refuse any treatment or procedure or participation in experimental research.

--Receive all information that is material to his or her decision concerning whether to accept or refuse any proposed treatment or procedure.

If you feel that the nursing home ignored or violated any of these rights, contact the nursing home administrator with your specific evidence of this.

If he or she doesn't take satisfactory action, contact the nursing home ombudsman for help. Ombudsmen are empowered by law to help nursing home residents solve problems in the facilities. You can find a local ombudsman at www.theconsumervoice.org/ombudsman.