Furniture in Nursing Homes Must Be Appropriate to Residents’ Needs

Nursing home residents rely heavily on the furniture provided at a nursing facility.  Back pain, arthritis, decreased mobility, and unstable gait are common plights of aging citizens. Also, many members of the aging community find joy in displaying pictures of family members on shelves and looking at personal memorabilia on side tables.  The furniture in a nursing home must be provided in a way that meets the needs of a resident on an individualized basis.

42 C.F.R. §483.70(d)(2)(iv) addresses the physical environment of a resident’s living area.  The statute requires the furniture in each residents’ room contributes to the resident attaining or maintaining his or her highest practicable level of independence and well-being.  In general, furnishings include a place to put clothing away in an organized manner that will let it remain clean, free of wrinkles, and accessible to the resident while protecting it form casual access by others; a place to put personal effects such as pictures and a bedside clock, and furniture suitable for the comfort of the resident and visitors.  The residents’ wishes should determine the furniture needs. See 42 C.F.R. § 483.70(d)(2)(iv).
Any shelves in the resident’s room must be accessible and allow the resident to get to their clothes whenever they choose. The resident may direct a staff person to can get to their clothes if they are not able to do so independently.
Facility hardship is not part of the basis for granting a variation to furniture guidelines.  Since the special needs of residents may change periodically, or different residents may be transferred into a room that has been granted a variation, this must be reviewed and considered for renewal when the facility is certified.  See 42 C.F.R. § 483.70(d)(3).
Any variation on the furniture placement must be in accordance with the special needs of your loved one and must not adversely affect their health or safety.  Convenience for the staff members or the facility must never supersede the well-being of your loved one; do not be convinced otherwise.
If you believe your loved one may have been injured as a result of abusive nursing home care or unlawful care practices, contact our office to speak with one of our attorneys.