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Client and Guardian Rights and Responsibilities

Supported Living Rights


All Heartland clients have certain rights established by law. Heartland has an ethical duty to do whatever it can to ensure that these rights are protected and to keep its clients safe from physical, mental or emotional harm or neglect. Specifically:​​

  • ​​You have a right to be treated humanely and to be protected from harm.
  • You have a right to meaningful and appropriate services.
  • You have the right to live and receive services in a safe, secure, and supportive environment.
  • You have the right for information to be confidential.
  • You have the right to complain about treatment or care and to have that complaint answered in a timely manner.
  • You have the right to be informed of your rights at least annually and in a manner in which you can understand.
  • You have the right to be free from physical punishment and painful treatment.
  • You have the right to be free from abuse, neglect, exploitation or mistreatment.
  • You have the right to not be placed in a room or other area from which exit is prevented.
  • You have the right to be treated with dignity and respect.
  • You have the right to be free from restrictions involving sleep, shelter, food, drink, medical care, use of bathroom facilities, or prolonged restriction of movement, unless a doctor’s order is being followed.
  • You have the right to not work or perform chores without payment, except for normal chores in your home or for volunteer work that you have chosen.
  • You have the right to regularly see your doctor, at your own expense.
  • You have the right to regular developmental and behavioral assessments.
  • You have the right to refuse treatment.
  • You have the right to be informed of all risks of treatment.
  • You have the right to be free from unnecessary physical or chemical (medication induced) restraints.
  • You have the right to personal privacy.
  • You have the right to meet privately with and communicate with persons of your own choosing.
  • You have the right to send and receive unopened mail.
  • You have the right to make and receive telephone calls privately, at your own expense.
  • You have the right to participate in social, religious and community activities of your choice.
  • You have the right to have and use appropriate personal possessions and clothing.
  • You have the right to have personal funds and property protected from misuse or misappropriation.
  • You have the right to have all alleged violation of your rights reported and investigated.

If you believe that any one of these rights has been violated, or if you see or believe that another client’s rights have been violated, Heartland wants to know immediately. You will never, ever be treated badly or punished in any way for speaking up.

Just like everyone else, Heartland clients also have responsibilities. Some of these are financial – like paying bills; some are social – like trying to get along with others; and some are related to services that the client receives. Specifically, a Heartland client is expected:

  • To participate in planning services.
  • To choose providers for services.
  • To work on achieving goals.
  • To keep appointments.

To speak with a BDDS Service Coordinator about any changes that might effect participation in the Waiver program, such as changes in benefits or how the client feels about the plan that has been developed for him or her.

Of course, not all clients are able to speak for themselves. Guardians, Representative Payees, and other individuals who hold a power of attorney for the benefit of a client have very specific responsibilities as well.

Supported Living Guardian Rights


In Indiana, there are two types of guardianships. One is a guardianship over the person. This type of guardian is responsible for making decisions that affect an individual’s health, safety and welfare. This type of guardian chooses service providers, approves living situations, and oversees/authorizes medical and other care. The second type of guardianship is over the property of an individual. This type of guardian makes financial decisions for the individual, pays bills, and is the Representative Payee of the individual’s Social Security income. In some cases, a guardian may have both types of responsibilities.

Regardless of the type of guardians​hip, providers of all types of services, including Heartland, typically require a guardian to produce the Probate Court Order which actually appoints an individual as a guardian, and it is the guardian’s responsibility to provide this important legal document. Heartland requires such documentation because it enables Heartland staff to confidently follow a guardian’s instructions. Also, because the Probate Court Order will describe the type of guardianship (over the person, over the property, or both) the document directs Heartland to the appropriate person for specific issues, such as paying bills or changing doctors.

There are many legal requirements for guardians, including filing reports, accounting for money spent, and in some cases even providing financially for an individual. For this reason, guardianship should not be entered into without giving the matter serious thought and speaking to professionals, such as an accountant or an attorney.