Legally, a nursing home resident cannot be moved unless he or she:

  • Has medical needs that no longer can be met by the facility
  • Has recovered his health significantly enough that care is no longer necessary
  • Endangers the safety or health of other individuals at the facility
  • Has failed to pay for services, or the nursing home closes 

Can a Disruptive Patient Be Transferred from One Nursing Home to Another?

Yes, a disruptive patient can be transferred to another nursing home if they are given:

  • 30 days written notice
  • the reasons for the transfer, and
  • the mechanism for challenging the proposed move.

Hearing procedures differ from state to state.

Can Patients Be Moved from One Nursing Home to Another Even If They Are Not Being Disruptive?

There are certain circumstances that may result in the involuntary and abrupt moving of a resident beyond his control. Some examples of this would be a loss of certification by the facility or a strike by its staff. A move can also be carried out if it is necessary for the resident’s safety and health and/or for the safety and health of others. In these cases, special arrangements are typically made to transfer the resident to other housing accommodations.

Can Residents Leave a Nursing Home to Live Elsewhere?

Yes, residents have the right to move to another location to live. However, most nursing homes have a policy that they be informed ahead of time. Doctor’s advice, health insurance and health care would be the responsibility of the patient and his or her family.

If a Resident Is Sent to the Hospital, Does the Resident Have the Right to Be Readmitted to the Nursing Home?

Most nursing homes have a written policy regarding admittance after a temporary leave, but generally nursing homes are obligated to allow the resident to return, even if the resident has unpaid bills or the facility believes it cannot meet the resident’s needs. The nursing home can, however, begin the transfer procedures after the patient returns. If the nursing home refuses to readmit the patient, then the family and the hospital should make an immediate appeal to the state or risk having an improper transfer.

Do I Need an Attorney If I Have Been Unfairly Removed or Transferred from a Nursing Home?

If you (or an elderly person that you know) have been removed or transferred from your preferred nursing home for reasons that you believe were unfair, then you should speak with a lawyer who is a specialist in the legal issues of elder law. An experienced family law attorney will be acquainted with the laws regarding patients in nursing homes and can properly advise you as to the best course of action.