One of the most deplorable practices in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and adult homes is eviction. This practice – also referred to as “dumping” – is widespread in the industry. In most cases, it’s illegal.
There is no hard data on U.S. nursing home evictions. But formal complaints of eviction practices have almost tripled in the last five years to 10,000 in 2008. However, because not all residents who are evicted file formal complaints, the practice may be more prevalent.
It’s hard to know how many elders or their families simply are told, “We think you need to find another place for your mother,” without those families knowing their legal right to say “No.”Federal and State Laws allow eviction for only 6 specific reasons. To learn more about those 6 specific reasons, contact My Elder Advocate!
Danger! Evictions Cause Irreversible Harm
For a nursing home resident, few events are as traumatic as an involuntary transfer or discharge. Although there are many risks and pitfalls associated with evictions from nursing homes, the top three are:
- Stress and Disruption – Even the threat of a transfer can cause an elder enormous stress, especially after a long stay. Elder residents thrive on established routines. They are accustomed to certain regimens of care and treatment. A transfer causes enormous disruption in these routines.
- Transfer Trauma – At worst, “transfer trauma” often leaves a frail elderly person frightened, disoriented, and isolated from friends and families. This causes irreparable psychological and physical harm.
- Death – Medical studies indicate that the rate of death is 5 to 9 times higher for residents who are transferred compared to those who are allowed to remain in the familiar surroundings of their present nursing home.
Why Nursing Homes Evict
- Profit Motive – About 70% of all nursing homes are for-profit organizations. It’s a business that needs to make profit. While many nursing homes run their facilities as businesses and are still able to render quality care and respect the rights of their residents – including the right not to be evicted – many others do not.
- Source of Payment – Medicaid beneficiaries are at greater risk of eviction because Medicaid reimbursement rates are as little as half of what nursing homes make from residents who pay their bills out-of-pocket or with private coverage or through Medicare.
- Difficult Residents – Residents judged by the nursing home to be “difficult” may become targets for eviction or transfer. Often, the nursing home attempts to transfer difficult residents to a less appealing nursing home or to a psychiatric hospital.
- Short-Term Rehab versus Long-Term Care – Many nursing homes focus on attracting elderly patients who require only short-term care after surgery or an injury because these expenses are often covered by health insurance. Many facilities seek to evict long-term residents so that they have more available beds for short-term rehab residents.
How Nursing Homes Evict
The two most aggressive eviction techniques used by nursing homes are:
- Bed Hold Technique – This technique is used most often because it is so easy to get away with –– unless, of course, you don’t have an advocate. This technique works especially well when a nursing home wants to rid itself of a Medicaid resident. Very simply, it involves refusing to accept patients back into the nursing home after a hospitalization. Medicaid resident is entitled to a 15-day bed hold. During this period their bed must be held. When an elderly person loses their place at a nursing home, without family members, there may not be anywhere for them to go. Some facilities will send residents to the hospital under false pretenses and then refuse to take them back. MEA has been very successful in forcing facilities to take these residents back. Without advocacy, however, a resident can languish in a hospital and die.
- Psychiatric Facility Technique – This technique is used by nursing homes to evict hard-to-manage residents…especially those who have Alzheimer’s disease or benign mental illness. This eviction is especially heartbreaking and difficult. These residents are admitted to psychiatric facilities and placed on heavy medication in order to help the facility manage them more easily. They don’t receive proper care and are often assaulted by residents with severe mental disease.
Professional Help Is Imperative
In the often-treacherous world of nursing home evictions, obtaining professional support and guidance is imperative.
Just as you wouldn’t fight an apartment eviction in housing court without legal representation, attempting to “do it yourself” with a family member who is facing eviction is dangerous. After all, nursing homes have considerable practice in this area. They are skilled and often fearless of the law (because you don’t know the law).
If and when a parent or elderly family member is threatened with eviction from a nursing home, your first line of defense is to call to us immediately. We can ensure that the facility does not evict or transfer your elder family member. And we will ensure that their rights are protected at all times.
My Elder Advocate has a 100% success rate in preventing evictions and/or in returning residents to their original facilities once they have already been evicted.
My Elder Advocate has over 36 years of experience in nursing home administration, and dealing with operators who abuse the elderly.
If you suspect that the nursing home is planning to remove your elder family member from their nursing home, call us immediately at 212-945-7550. The time to nip this in the bud is BEFORE the eviction occurs.