What steps should you take if you no longer want to live in a nursing home? You may have changed your mind and prefer to be cared for at home. You may wonder if you have the option of leaving the nursing home yourself. Yes, you can. You can leave a nursing home voluntarily; everyone is free to do so, regardless of whether other parties placed them in the nursing facility or not. What’s more, you have the fundamental right to refuse care from professionals working in the home, such as doctors or nurses.

However, it’s crucial to note the discharge process, primarily if your health insurer no longer protects you – if your Medicare 100-day program runs out and you don’t know how you’ll pay for the nursing facility. Under such circumstances, it is prudent to go before your financial reserve is exhausted. 

Can Nursing Homes Decline To Discharge Patients?

Nursing homes can refuse to discharge patients. Suppose the court rules that you cannot make independent decisions. In that case, the facility can lawfully deny you discharge. In cases where you’re deemed mentally incompetent, nursing homes may also seek a court order that you’re a danger to others or yourself. In such cases, a close relative with authority to act will decide on your behalf. Alternatively, the facility can also assume guardianship.

In addition, care home personnel, like any other human being, do not always warm to everyone. In cases where a nursing facility has a financial incentive to keep Medicare-insured patients in their facility longer, staff may urge patients to stay on. For instance, they may advise you that Medicare will not cover your expenses if you get an emergency because you left AMA(against medical advice). That, in turn, is usually a false statement.

Leaving some facilities AMA may also lead them to contact APS (Adult Protective Services). Fortunately, mentally fit patients are always free to leave the facility. In cases where the facility threatens to sue you to prevent your exit, consider hiring a geriatric care provider to analyze your paperwork and the facility and advocate for an appropriate exit plan. If the nursing facility proceeds with guardianship, you have the right to petition the court to appoint a guardian to represent you. 

You or your loved ones can also contact the nursing home ombudsperson, who can assist in mediating the problem. There is also the option of notifying local regulatory agencies responsible for enforcing nursing home policies and regulations.

Main Reasons for Voluntary Discharge From Care Homes

Advocates, relatives, and caregivers regularly move nursing home patients between facilities. From enhanced care in different facilities to legal reasons, these are the most common explanations for why patients may want to move from one facility to another.

1. Cruelty Or Neglect

Some nursing facilities have ignored the health needs of their residents in the past, and today is no different. Some also abuse their privileges over the elderly instead of making the community an ideal place to stay. Residents have the right to file formal complaints with the local health department. So, without question, this is a compelling reason to leave a nursing center.

2. Transfer Of Residents

In various situations, understaffed nursing facilities may be unable to meet the needs of patients. The sheer volume of nursing facilities can lead to problems due to underpaid nursing staff or overwhelming demands. Let us say a nursing home is one of several facilities in operation that are overwhelmed with work and unable to provide adequate care due to population. In such scenarios, it’s necessary to leave the facility.

3. Choosing To Move

In addition, seniors may not like the quality of care they receive in a nursing facility. Instead, they may opt for higher-quality care in another facility. If the care recipient’s needs are deemed acceptable in other facilities, it is usually time to consider moving. It is crucial to ensure that the home you select suits your cherished one’s needs and provides adequate care at a reasonable cost.

Can A Nursing Home Let A Patient Leave?

Yes. Nursing homes will let you go once they determine your mental and physical ability. They may also help you pack. They may try to persuade you to stay. If they’re unsuccessful, they’ll let you go. The doctors will ask you to submit a discharge document AMA to protect them in case of problems with your discharge.

However, nursing homes won’t discharge you if they think you’re a danger to yourself or others. Facilities can be held accountable if they discharge residents into dangerous situations. In addition, the law obligates nursing home staff and physicians to notify the local elder protection agency if they suspect you’re endangering yourself by leaving.

That said, ensure your doctor approves your discharge and commits to monitoring your recovery. Then talk to the administration to begin the check-out process.

By Manali