You have every right to discharge from a nursing home when you are ready to leave.  The doctor can't make you stay, your insurance can't make you stay - no one can make you stay there if you don't want to.  It doesn't matter if you have just arrived there or if you've been a resident of the nursing home for months - you have the right to leave.  Ask the social worker to call the Local Contact Agency for assistance.  This is an agency that the nursing home is federally mandated to call if you or your family member asks.

If you or your family member has difficulty becoming discharged, call the Ombudsman, the State Regulatory agency (a full listing is located in the Nursing Home Survival Guide, and the number of the agency is posted in a public area of the nursing home), or even feel free to call an attorney.  The nursing home can't legally block you from leaving nor can they threaten or attempt to intimidate you.

The worst thing that can happen is that the doctor will refuse to help you leave, and you'll have to go to your primary physician for prescriptions or in-home care.  If the nursing home refuses to allow you to leave, call the doctor in charge of your care on your own.  He might not even know you want to leave - and once you explain the situation to him, he'll probably help you with the discharge. 
 


Comments

Lori Zwick
09/02/2013 4:48pm

You are and have always been an awesome advocate for the frail elderly and disabled individuals in our community.

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ME
01/03/2014 10:19pm

True, you have a right to leave the nursing home, however the physician can refuse to discharge a resident if the resident is not being discharged to a safe place or a place where home health is not available.

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10/21/2014 9:37pm

Yes, couldn't agree more to advocating for patient's rights to be discharged AMA (against medical advice) if one wanted to. But it is good to note also that nursing homes are guarded with the concept of preventing readmission to acute hospitals which do happen after unsafe discharges. That is more often the reason why nursing home staff are meticulous about discharge AMA.

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