Nursing home residents cannot be moved around arbitrarily. The nursing home only may transfer or discharge a resident, if the reason is allowed by law. The nursing home must follow required procedures when transferring or discharging a resident. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, you must know: what are the primary causes for nursing home relocations?
The nursing home must first make a finding that the transfer would not be more harmful than letting the resident stay. After making that determination, the nursing home may discharge or transfer the resident only for one or more of these five reasons:
Medical care. If the resident needs a higher level or a different type of care than the nursing home can provide, they can transfer the resident to a facility that can provide the care needed. Since nursing homes are required by law to provide appropriate, individualized care to all residents, few transfers or discharges should be for this reason.
- Resident’s condition has improved. If the resident’s physical or mental health has improved to where he no longer needs nursing home care, the nursing home can discharge or transfer him. Many people transfer to an assisted living facility, which provides a lower level of care. When a nursing home has a waiting list, they will be more likely to use this reason. If the nursing home has no waiting list, they are less likely to use this reason, since healthy patients make fewer demands on staff and nursing home resources.
- The resident endangers the health and safety of other individuals in the home. Some residents are aggressive and combative. This situation may be a mental health issue, medication issue or simply a behavior issue. There are difficult people of all ages. If a resident puts the health or safety of the staff or other residents in danger, the nursing home can transfer or discharge the resident.
- Nonpayment. Some older adults are not eligible for Medicaid, so they must pay for their nursing home stay out of their own funds. The average semi-private room at a nursing home can cost more than $80,000 a year, and a private room can cost over $90,000 a year. At around $225 to $250 a day, when a self-pay resident is at least 15 days behind in payments, she can be discharged or transferred.
- Closure of the nursing home. It happens. Nursing homes close or get shut down by government agencies. There are detailed procedures the closing nursing home must follow when relocating residents.
Nursing homes can relocate residents only for certain allowed reasons, and then only if the resident’s health does not contraindicate the move. Federal law mandates many requirements that apply to nursing homes, but some state laws also regulate nursing homes. Since the laws are different in every state, talk with an elder law attorney in your area.
CTLawHelp.org. “Transfers/Discharges from a Nursing Home and Your Rights.” (accessed August 3, 2017) https://ctlawhelp.org/self-help-guides/elder-law/transfers-discharges-From-nursing-home#
US News & World Report. “How to Pay For Nursing Home Costs.” (accessed August 3, 2017) https://health.usnews.com/health-news/best-nursing-homes/articles/2013/02/26/how-to-pay-for-nursing-home-costs
Elder Law Answers. “How to Fight a Nursing Home Discharge.” (accessed August 3, 2017) https://www.elderlawanswers.com/how-to-fight-a-nursing-home-discharge-6971