It is hard to imagine an 83 year old being booted out of a nursing facility, but as seen in the case of Gloria Single, a resident of a California facility, it does happen. In this case, a legal battle over an allegedly improper eviction followed.
A recent Skilled Nursing News article, “What SNFs Should Know About Proper Protocols for Resident Eviction,” reports that the whole eviction and proceeding appeals process can be daunting, and residents are often so intimidated by the process that when they receive an eviction notice, they just pick up and leave. They are too afraid to do anything else.
Fortunately, there are legal procedures that SNF residents can take to contest an eviction. In addition, there are proper protocols that SNFs must follow, if they decide to discharge a resident. The federal Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA) applies to any nursing facility that accepts reimbursement from Medicare or Medicaid, or both. Under the Act, patients have certain rights as residents of a nursing facility. The law also necessitates that a transfer or discharge of a patient is allowed only for one of these six reasons:
- The resident needs a higher level of care;
- The resident no longer needs nursing facility care;
- The resident has endangered others’ safety;
- The resident endangers other residents’ health;
- A failure to pay; or
- The SNF is closing.
The SNF must give notice of why a patient is being discharged, the proposed effective date, the location where he/she is going to be transferred or discharged, the resident’s appeal rights and contact information for agencies that could assist the resident. It is not uncommon for SNFs to discharge residents when they need a higher level of care than the property is able to provide. However, for an SNF to make this claim, it must provide documentation to make their case, such as the needs that it allegedly cannot meet, its attempt to meet those needs, and the ability of the proposed receiving facility to meet those needs. The SNF must also have a detailed transfer/discharge plan available for the patient, which should be included in the resident’s care plan.
One source of great frustration is when an SNF claims that a person has a significant behavioral problem and the senior came to live in the facility because they are suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s. One would think that in a case like this, the resident’s behavior is a direct result of their medical condition, and the SNF must have known that at the time of their admission.
While we are grateful there are skilled nursing facilities, it is important not to let this comfort of professional care providers distract you from knowing your rights either as a resident or knowing the rights of a loved one in an SNF. If you or a loved one are concerned about eviction or are being evicted consult an elder law attorney for the best advice on how to proceed.
For more information on this and other elder care and estate planning topics, explore our website and schedule your consultation today!
Reference: Skilled Nursing News (December 17, 2017) “What SNFs Should Know About Proper Protocols for Resident Eviction”