Mom's nursing home is kicking her out, but I can't care for her in my home. What do I do?

Kpt asked...

Five years ago my mother was in the hospital with flu-like symptoms and for some (still unknown) reason stopped breathing. After a nine day coma, she was diagnosed with anoxia. She cannot walk, is incontinent and on a feeding tube.

She has been in the same nursing home for the last three years. I visit as frequently as possible, but she is having anger issues and shouting out on a fairly regular basis. Yesterday, I met with the Social Services Director, who recommended I take her home and get home health care. She also "insinuated" that since there is "nothing medically" wrong with my mom, the nursing home really doesn't need to keep her.

I have five children at home, and my husband works out of town 48 weeks per year. There is no possible way I can take care of her myself, nor is my home conducive or in anyway handicapped accessible.

My question is can the nursing home "kick her out"? I have tried to have her transferred closer to my home, but as soon as the new nursing home sees that she is a "problem" patient, they turn her down. She is also a medicaid patient.

Any feedback will be gratefully appreciated!

Expert Answer

Carolyn Rosenblatt, R.N. and Attorney is the author of author of The Boomer's Guide to Aging Parents. She has over 40 years of combined experience in her two professions. As a nurse, she has extensive experience with geriatrics, chronic illness, pain management, dementias, disability, family dynamics, and death and dying. As a trial attorney, she advocated for for the rights of injured individuals and neglected elders. She is also co-founder of

You appear to be looking for options when your mother is evicted from a nursing home. First, I would seek a complete medical evaluation of your mom. If her behavior is a problem, there may be medical reasons which have not been fully considered or appropriately treated. Seek the input of a neurologist and a psychiatrist. You may have to insist. You are her advocate, and it is important to understand whether her behavior can be modified before going any further. Next, your state may require an "ombudsman" or liaison between the resident/resident's family and the nursing home. Ask. This individual is appointed to help straighten out problems and is someone to talk to about the "threat" of eviction.

The question as to whether your mother can be evicted is not one that has a simple answer. If she is a threat in any way to other residents, or she is very disturbing to those around her, the nursing home may have a right to ask her to leave. However if they are just having problems with her shouting, I would ask them to meet with you and the doctor who treats your mom to see if there is a way to work out the problem. A different location within the facility or change of caretakers could have an effect. Medication can be of some use, as can other distracting factors, such as music, someone to spend time quietly with her, etc.

Your mother has the right to be cared for in a nursing home. You should not feel forced into caring for her in an inappropriate living situation for her in your home. The question is whether this is the right nursing home for her and whether any other placement is going to work better.

I suggest that you find support from the MD, social worker, ombudsman, and any helpful person in the nursing home you can find and use a team approach to solve this difficulty. You will need polite persistence to protect your mom's rights and to keep her safe and properly cared for. At the same time, you must recognize how difficult it must be for the nursing home staff to care for her and do all you can to work on the behavior problems that apparently caused the nursing home staff to ask you to find other arrangements for your mom. Remember that you are not alone in this. Millions of elders who must be cared for in nursing homes have some behavior issues. This can be worked out. Keep trying and don't give up until things are better. You can ask the advice of other local experts in your area as well, such as a local elder law attorney, a geriatric care manager or a geriatric social worker.