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How to Fight a Nursing Home Eviction

When you or someone you love enters a nursing home, you don’t surrender rights at the door. You  can be evicted only under very specific circumstances. It’s not enough for a social worker, or a nurse, or a doctor, or the manager to say, “Your Dad is a difficult patient and he would be better off in another facility. That is not a justifiable reason to kick someone out.

California Advocates for Nursing  Home Reform, a consumer group, says there are only five grounds for eviction:

  • “Failure of resident to pay agreed upon rate for basic services within ten (10) days of due date.

  • Failure of resident to comply with state or local law after receiving notice of the alleged violation (e.g., drug use, assault, violation of probation, etc.).

  • Failure of resident to follow facility policies that are in writing, are stated or referenced in the Admission Agreement and are for the purpose of making it possible for residents to live together.

  • After formal assessment, the facility determines that it can no longer meet the resident’s changing care needs.

  • The facility changed its purpose (e.g., it is surrendering its license and will not operate as a Residential Care Facility for the Elderly (RCFE)”

You can’t be exiled for complaining.  It is illegal for the owner of a nursing  home or an employe there to threaten to evict someone who files a complaint  about the nursing home  with a  state agency, or asks the state agency for an inspection  of the nursing  home.

A nursing home  has to give 30 days written notice of  intent to evict, or 60 days if you have been living  there more than a year.

Most important, says the advocacy group,   “Do not act on a verbal statement by the facility that the resident must move. Demand a written notice.”

Here is the fact sheet on eviction issues.

And here is the general resource list for nursing home and assisted living facilities.

The written notice calling for eviction should list  “the reason for the eviction, along with the facts that allegedly support the eviction,” according to a nursing home handbook to by Eric Carlson of the National Senior Citizens Law Center . ” The notice must list the telephone number for the state agency that inspects and licenses nursing homes, along with instructions on how the resident can request an appeal from the agency. Generally the notice must be given at least 30 days prior to the date of the proposed eviction. The resident should resist the inclination to give up. Sometimes a resident will think, “If the nursing home doesn’t want me, then I’m better off going elsewhere. The reality is, however, that the second nursing home may be no better – or may be worse – than the first one. A resident who fights an eviction, wins and stays may find himself receiving more respect and better care from the nursing home.”

Carlson’s report,  “20 Common Nursing Home Problems-and How to resolve Them,” is a an important resource  for anyone with a family member in a nursing home.






Written by Bob Rosenblatt

Bob Rosenblatt is a researcher, writer and journalist who helps people looking for up-to-date answers and information on the perplexing issues at the intersection of finances and aging. Bob publishes a weekly report — please take a moment to subscribe in the upper right hand corner of this page.

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