Living in a nursing home can be a difficult transition for residents. They have been moved into an environment that is nothing like home, and if they have mental health or memory issues, they could be confused, try to leave the facility or even become agitated or aggressive.
Moreover, most nursing home residents need a great deal of care to meet their daily needs.
A nursing home may to try to transfer or discharge a resident against their will if the resident is unpleasant or difficult to care for. A transfer relocates the resident to another facility, while a discharge removes the resident from facility care altogether. Per law, an involuntary transfer or discharge can only occur under very limited circumstances.
Six reasons a nursing home resident can be involuntarily transferred or discharged
There are only six legal reasons a nursing home can involuntarily transfer or discharge a resident.
One reason a nursing home resident can be removed is if the nursing home is no longer capable of meeting the resident’s needs. A resident who is difficult to care for cannot be removed solely due to this difficulty unless their care needs absolutely cannot be met. In addition, the nursing home must attempt to meet these needs before removing the resident.
A second reason a nursing home resident can be removed is if the resident has recovered their health, and no longer needs the level care provided by the nursing home.
A third reason a nursing home resident can be removed is if the resident poses a danger to the safety of others in the nursing home.
A fourth reason a nursing home resident can be removed is if the resident poses a health risk to others in the nursing home.
A fifth reason a nursing home resident can be removed is if the resident is at least 15 days behind on payments to the nursing home.
Finally, a sixth reason a nursing home resident can be removed is if the nursing home is closing its doors.
Notice and rights
A nursing home cannot kick out a resident for any reason they want. A resident who is simply unpleasant or difficult to care for cannot be involuntarily transferred or discharged unless they satisfy one of the above legal reasons for removal. In addition, residents cannot be removed for discriminatory reasons.
If a nursing home wants to remove a resident, written notice must be provided to the resident and the resident’s representative, along with the necessary supporting documentation within 30 days or as soon as practicable, depending on the situation.
If you disagree with the removal, you have the right to appeal the removal. In addition, if you believe your loved one’s removal was illegal, you can file a complaint with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. But with appropriate geriatric care planning, it is possible to obtain nursing home care at a facility that meets your loved one’s needs.