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Reviewing the Law: Long-Term Care Resident Rights: RCW 70.129

Placing a loved one in a long-term care residence such as a nursing home is a difficult decision to make. You are not only thinking about the higher quality and attention to care your family member now requires, but you are also putting your trust into a facility to ensure that a proper level of care is met. 

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to hear horror stories about care homes. Washington State law does, however, contain provisions to protect residents. Section 70.129 of the revised Code of Washington (RCW) codifies the rights of residents, including protections from abuse and restraint.

Use of Physical or Chemical Restraints

RCW 70.129.120 discusses the use of restraints on residents. Residents have the right to not be restrained physically or with chemicals. It is important to note that the chemical restraint clause does not address the prescription of psychopharmacologic medications, beyond stating that staff is neither required nor prohibited from “reviewing the judgment of the resident’s physician” in prescribing such medications. 

This means that if a resident were to be restrained with either physical or chemical restraints in a care facility, they would be able to report the abuse and take the necessary actions to pursue justice.

Abuse, Punishment, and Background Checks

Residents living in Long-Term Care facilities deserve fair and just treatment. RCW 43.43.842 enumerates additional licensing requirements for agencies, facilities, and individuals providing services to vulnerable adults, and mandates background checks. RCW 70.129.130 forbids staff from:

  • Verbally abusing the residents
  • Sexually abusing the residents
  • Physically abusing the residents
  • Mentally abusing the residents
  • Using corporal punishment on the residents
  • Involuntarily secluding the residents

If you or a family member has been a victim of care home abuse, you may want to consider contacting a personal injury lawyer to support you in your case. 

Other Important Resident Rights

Other sections of RCW 70.129 address rights for residents including the following:

  • Protection for residents’ funds and financial affairs
  • Privacy and confidentiality of records
  • The right to privacy in and access to communications including mail and telephone use
  • The right of visitation and access by authorized representatives of the state and other agencies, the resident’s individual physician, and family
  • Storage for personal property, including access to a locked receptacle for security
  • Quality of life, including choice of activities, schedules, clothing, and healthcare, as well as interaction with other members of the community, and social, religious, or community activities

GLP Attorneys Supports Vulnerable Residents

GLP Attorneys has vast experience supporting clients in care homes who have not received the treatment they deserve. 

Our personal injury attorneys work hard to ensure that you and your family receive justice. Call us at 800.273.5005 or email our personal injury attorneys at to schedule a free lawyer consultation.

If you have been involved in an accident, please call or email our attorneys for a free consultation