How to fight against leaving a retirement home


Once a resident is settled in a nursing home, being told to leave can be very traumatic. Nursing homes are required to follow certain procedures before discharging a resident, but family members often agree to the leave without questioning it. Residents can fight back and challenge an illegal dump.

Under federal law, a nursing home can only release a resident for the following reasons:

  • The resident’s health has improved
  • Resident’s needs cannot be met by the facility
  • The health and safety of other residents is at risk
  • The resident did not pay after receiving the notice
  • The installation stops working

Unfortunately, sometimes nursing homes want to get rid of a resident for another reason – maybe the resident is picky, the resident’s family is picky, or the resident is a Medicaid recipient. In such cases, the nursing home may not follow the proper procedure or it may attempt to “dump” the resident by transferring the resident to a hospital and then refusing to let him in.

If the nursing home transfers a resident to a hospital, state law may require the nursing home to keep the resident’s bed for a certain number of days (usually about a week). Before transferring a resident, the facility must inform the resident of its bed retention policy. If the resident pays privately, he or she may have to pay to keep the bed, but if the resident is receiving Medicaid, Medicaid will pay for the maintenance of the bed. In addition, if the resident is a Medicaid recipient, the retirement home must readmit the resident to the first available bed after the stay-in-bed period has elapsed.

Additionally, a nursing home cannot discharge a resident without proper notice and planning. In general, the nursing home must provide 30 days written notice prior to discharge, although shorter notice is permitted in emergency situations. Even if a patient is sent to the hospital, the nursing home may still need to properly plan for discharge if it plans not to readmit the resident. An discharge plan should ensure that the resident has a safe place to go, preferably near their family, and describe the care the resident will receive after discharge.

If the nursing home refuses to readmit a patient or insists on dismissing a resident, residents can appeal or file a complaint with the state’s long-term care ombudsperson. The resident should appeal as soon as possible after receiving notice of discharge or being refused readmission to the nursing home. You can also ask the resident’s doctor to approve the discharge. Contact your lawyer for the best steps to take.

To find out more about protecting the rights of residents of retirement homes, consult the guide 20 Common Nursing Home Problems And How To Fix Them by Justice in Aging.

For more information on retirement home rights, click here.

Last modified: 10/18/2019

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