Is a loved one facing a potential eviction from a nursing home? If so, it’s important to understand your loved one’s rights and whether the nursing home can legally evict your loved one.
As described below, if it’s not in the best interest of your loved one to be discharged, you (on behalf of your loved one) should fight the process. The first step is to appeal the discharge notice. Additionally, you should contact the appropriate state agencies and ombudsman to get involved with your loved one’s case. This is especially the case if you feel that your loved one is being discharged for inappropriate reasons, such as the facility does not wish to provide the level of care that your loved one may now need, even though the facility has the resources to provide adequate treatment.
In the interim, here are answers to frequently asked questions.
What Must the Nursing Home Do Before Transferring a Resident?
Before transferring a resident, a nursing home must:
- Send a written notice to the resident (or the resident’s designated representative) and the state’s long-term care ombudsman. The notice should provide sufficient information about the discharge or transfer so that the resident (or the resident’s designated representative) will understand exactly what is being contemplated with respect to the discharge or transfer.
- This notice should be provided at least 30 days prior to the contemplated discharge or transfer. The notice should also contain the appropriate information about contacting an ombudsman or advocate.
- Residents then have the right to object to the proposed transfer or discharge, and have the right to demand a hearing concerning the proposed transfer or discharge. At such hearing, the resident can appeal such decision, and can set forth facts that the resident believes as to why the transfer or discharge should not take place. The nursing home facility cannot transfer or discharge the resident during the pendency of this appeal.
- Nursing homes further have an obligation to post a notice to residents informing them that they may file a complaint, as well as the contact information for:
- State agencies that regulate or have welfare concerns for residents in nursing homes and long-term care facilities
- Contact information for ombudsman focused on resident needs and matters
- Advocacy groups concerned with resident welfare
- Can a Resident Be Evicted if the Resident is Waiting for a Medicaid Payment?
No. Nursing homes cannot evict a resident if the resident is waiting on a Medicaid payment that will be used to pay for their care.
What About if the Nursing Home Claims They Can’t Adequately Provide for a Patient?
In some instances, nursing homes will claim they can’t adequately provide for a resident’s needs when in fact the real reason for discharge is because of another reason, such as the proper care for the resident has become too difficult.
If the nursing home claims that they can’t adequately provide for your loved one’s needs and you do not believe that this claim is true, it’s important to inquire as to why the nursing home has this belief.
For instance, what, exactly, can’t they do? Do they not have the personnel that can lift and move your loved one? Does your loved one now need nearly round-the-clock monitoring?
If you wish to defeat such a claim, it will be important to identify the exact reasons claimed by the nursing home that they can no longer offer appropriate care, and to refute those claims that are not true.
What Rights to Residents Have if they are Discharged to a Hospital?
In some cases, a resident may need to be temporarily discharged to a hospital so that they can receive treatment. In general, the nursing home must not give the resident’s place to someone else during the hospital stay, so long as the hospital stay is of limited duration (such as a week or two). In such case, it’s important to consider any required “hold” periods under state law, as well as any provisions in the nursing home contract that address temporary hospital stays.
Take Immediate Action
If a nursing home is trying to transfer or discharge your loved one, it’s important to appeal the transfer or discharge immediately, and to learn more about the rights that your loved one has. You must take action quickly – if the discharge or transfer is made, it is likely that your loved one’s right to object may have been forfeited.