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Nursing Home Visitors

Authored By: Northwest Justice Project

As a nursing home resident, you have the right to visitors. You also have the right to turn most visitors away, with a few exceptions. #8410EN


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I live in a nursing home. Can I have visitors?

Yes! You have the right to visitors. You also have the right to turn most visitors away. (There are a few exceptions.)

Can my visitors stop by late in the evening?

Yes. You can have visitors at any time.

Can my family visit without an appointment?

Yes. You can always refuse to see them.

Can my same-sex spouse visit?


Can the nursing home refuse to let a non-relative visit me?

Yes, for these reasons:

1. Out of “clinical and safety concerns.” Examples: a visitor

  • Has a contagious illness.

  • Has been abusing/using/bullying you.

  • Has been stealing from residents.

  • Is drunk and disruptive.

2. Allowing this visitor would infringe on other residents’ rights. Example: Your
daughter brings her dog to visit you. Your roommate is allergic to dogs. (The nursing home does not have to refuse the dog outright. There may be solutions such as your daughter keeping the dog outside for you to visit, or your roommate transferring so you can get a non-allergic roommate.)

Can my social worker visit?

Yes. Anyone from health/social/legal services can visit, unless the home has clinic and safety concerns about them.

What if I do not want to see my guardian?

You can refuse to see almost anyone. Your guardian or agent under power of attorney cannot see you if their papers do not give them the right to see you over your refusal.

What if I do not want any visitors?

You cannot turn away

  • Your doctor.

  • A government inspector.

  • An ombudsman.

  • Someone from the state protection and advocacy system.


This publication provides general information concerning your rights and responsibilities. It is not intended as a substitute for specific legal advice.
This information is current as of December 2017.
© 2017 Northwest Justice Project — 1-888-201-1014.

(Permission for copying and distribution granted to the Alliance for Equal Justice and to individuals for non-commercial purposes only.)

Last Review and Update: Dec 08, 2017