I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Nursing Home Injury Attorney. A nursing home resident, 86-year-old Margie, developed a bladder infection. She was transferred to an acute care hospital for treatment. Five days later, ready for discharge, she called her nursing home—without warning she is told they would not allow her to come back. While hospitalized the nursing home packed up all her belongings and cleaned out her room. In a panic Margie calls her family. Being told to leave or not being readmitted to a nursing home that you have already settled into can be traumatic. Yet, this illegal practice called “hospital dumping” is on the rise nationwide. Residents and family members can fight back. There are certain procedures the law requires a nursing home to take before a resident is discharged, transferred or evicted.
The Effects of Hospital Dumping on a Nursing Home Resident
The impact is devastating. Referred to as “transfer trauma” or “relocation stress” it can effect residents in a variety of ways. The abrupt physical transfer causes emotional distress, lowered physical and cognitive abilities and can even result in death. They are, losing friends, staff relationships and comfort of a familiar place. Some symptoms reported are depression, decreased vigor, morbidity, anxiety, anger, insecurity, weight loss, fearfulness, sleep disturbances, increased pressure sore formations, loss of trust, changes in eating habits, increased medical visits, increased falls, delirium, and withdrawal.
The Facts About Hospital Dumping
The number of complaints filed regarding discharge and eviction from nursing homes has increased by 57% since 2000. In 2014 alone, Ombudsmen received 11,331 “patient dumping” complaints. Nursing home residents who are evicted, dumped or transferred are considered victims of nursing home abuse. A resident cannot be discharged without proper notice and a discharge plan, (which outlines instructions for resident care after discharge and makes sure they have a safe place [preferably near family] to go).
Seven (7) Day Bed Hold Requirement
Both federal and state law require that your loved one’s bed at the nursing home be held for seven days. The obvious purpose of the 7-day mandated bed hold is so that residents who need to be placed in an acute care facility won’t have to worry about losing their bed at the nursing home. If the hospital stay runs longer, after discharge the nursing home should provide the next available bed. Why then has this become such a problem? Because it’s both easy and profitable for the nursing home.
Thirty (30) Day Eviction Notice Requirement
Patients are generally not informed of the fact that by federal law they must receive a written 30-day notice of eviction if the nursing home wants them to leave. Nursing home facilities must permit residents to stay according to the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 42 CFR 483, unless:
- If transfer or discharge is necessary for the welfare of the resident and their needs cannot be met in the facility;
- If transfer or discharge is appropriate due to the resident’s health or their health has improved sufficiently and they no longer need the services provided by the facility;
- The safety of the nursing home residents in the facility are endangered;
- The residents health within the facility would be endangered;
- If the resident has failed, after appropriate and reasonable notice, to pay for a stay at the facility. Or becomes eligible for Medicaid after being admitted;
- The facility closes.
After receiving a refusal of re-admittance or a discharge notice from the nursing home the resident should file an appeal or complaint with the state, as soon as possible. Find out how by contacting an experienced personal injury attorney.
Related Nursing Home Articles by Ed Smith:
- Geriatric Fall Patterns
- Punitive Damages for Institutional Elder Abuse
- New Law Protects Nursing Home Residents
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Nursing Home Injury Attorney. If you or a loved one has suffered from nursing home negligence, please call me at (916) 921-6400 or toll free at (800) 404-5400 for free friendly advice.
We invite you to visit our comprehensive personal injury website.
Source of Hospital Dumping – California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform
Image Attribution: Wikimedia Commons