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Right to Choose Schedule

Dear Advocate,

My nursing home gets me up every morning at 6 a.m. even though I prefer to sleep until later in the morning and have breakfast then. My roommate is also unhappy about the early morning routines and noise. It seems like they wake me just to make me wait. Do my rights cover this concern?

Sleepy in Sonoma

Dear Sleepy in Sonoma,

You have the right to choose schedules consistent with your interests and to make choices about life in the facility that are significant to you. Additionally, your nursing home must accommodate reasonable preferences you express. These rights are found at Title 42, Code of Federal Regulations, Section 483.15.

So, yes, you have the right to choose the time you wake up in the morning. Try talking to your social worker and ask her to help advocate for the schedule you prefer.

If that approach doesn’t work, ask for a meeting to change your care plan. Arranging for a later wake-up time might involve changing the time you receive morning care and eat breakfast. Review CANHR’s fact sheet, Making Care Plans Work, for tips on making these meetings productive.

It is also a good idea to bring this concern to the Resident Council at your home. Through the council, you can seek changes that will benefit all residents, including those who cannot speak for themselves. Developing flexible morning schedules is an important step toward creating a homelike environment, another requirement that is often overlooked.