My father has dementia and lives in a nursing home that doesn’t seem to have enough staff. I’m concerned about his care at night because he is often awake then and needs help. Occasionally I would like to visit late at night to make sure he is okay and to see how the nursing home is staffed at night. The facility has a notice posted that says visitors are only allowed from noon to 8 pm. Do I have a right to visit at night?
Concerned Daughter in Concord
Dear Concerned Daughter,
Yes, you and other family members have the right to visit your father in the nursing home at any time, day or night. The facility cannot impose any visiting hour restrictions on your visits and you don’t need to notify it in advance when you are coming. It is perfectly appropriate to make visits at night to monitor your father’s care.
Of course, anyone visiting during the night will have to be considerate of other residents. If a late–night visit with your father would disrupt sleeping roommates, the nursing home could ask you to visit with him elsewhere in the facility.
If the nursing home is violating your father’s right to have family visitors at any time, seek help from the local ombudsman. Read CANHR’s fact sheets on residents’ rights and filing complaints for more information. Laws referenced above are 42 CFR §483.10(j), 42 USC §1396r(c)(3), and Health and Safety Code §1418.3.