Within a nursing home, just like any other place you call home, you are entitled to certain rights. These rights include not being able to be evicted for any reason beyond the six listed in the United States’ Code:
- The discharge is necessary for the resident’s welfare and his or her needs cannot be met in the facility.
- The resident’s health has improved and no longer needs the facility’s services.
- The resident is endangering the safety of others.
- The resident is endangering the health of others.
- The resident has failed to pay for (or to have paid under Medicare or Medicaid) a stay at the facility.
- The facility ceases to operate.
Illegitimate reasons for discharge
Some nursing homes, for their own convenience, try to evict residents using illegitimate reasons. This sometimes includes applying pressure on residents and their families to “voluntarily” leave the facility. If you feel this applies to you, you will want to contact a Connecticut elder law trial attorney.
It is not uncommon for families to hear from nursing facilities that their loved ones need to be discharged because they are disruptive or they refuse medical treatment. Neither of these are sufficient reasons for threatening eviction. Nursing homes have the responsibility to employ the professional skills necessary to appropriately handle disruptive residents. That’s an important part of their job.
If reasons are legitimate, what happens?
So what if the resident falls under any of the six conditions? What happens, for example, if a nursing home can legitimately make the case that it cannot meet the needs of a resident?
First, sufficient notice in writing must be given by the nursing home to residents, their loved ones and advocates before initiating a discharge. This must be issued, except in extraordinary instances involving health and safety concerns, at least 30 days and no more than 60 days prior to the proposed discharge.
The notice must include:
- the reason or reasons for the discharge
- the effective date of the discharge
- the location where the resident will be transferred to
- the procedures and timeline for appealing the discharge
It also must be made clear that residents do have the right to appeal. To facilitate appeals, residents must be given the name, address and phone number of the state’s long-term care ombudsman. Families of residents with developmental disabilities or who are mentally ill must be given the contact information of the agencies responsible for their protection and advocacy.
Finally, it is the right of residents when being legally discharged to receive from the nursing home proper preparation and detailed information to ensure a safe and orderly transfer from the facility.
You have protection
So the good news is that if you or a loved one resides in a nursing home, you have protection under the law. Despite what you may have been told, you cannot be kicked out for any reason other than one of the six reasons stated clearly and simply in the United States’ Code.
If you know of someone threatened with eviction, rest assured that the law is on your side. If you need me to step in for you and intercede to enforce the law and the resident’s rights, contact me as soon as possible at (860) 236-7673.