Can I check my mom out of the nursing home myself?

7 answers | Last updated: May 03, 2017
Shirlie asked...

My mother is in rehabilitation/nursing home. She got sick about 2 1/2 months ago. She has been in the hospital, then went into rehab. I know it is getting close where Medicare and Mediciad insurance will stop paying her bill for rehab. I know she does not need to be at home alone, but I do not want her in a long term nursing home. My mother, my brother, my husband, our children who are grown, and myself all want her here where we live, because we live in a different state than she does. She has gotten better and wants to go home. She is able to get around on her own and dress herself, feed herself, do basic things we do.

My question is, what do I need to do to get her out of nursing care? Who do I need to talk to and can anyone stop me from taking her home with us?

Expert Answers

Kay Paggi, GCM, LPC, CGC, MA, is in private practice as a geriatric care manager and is on the advisory board for the Emeritus Program at Richland College. She has worked with seniors for nearly 20 years as a licensed professional counselor, certified gerontological counselor, and certified geriatric care manager.

A decision to move a frail parent from her home into your home is one that must be made carefully with research into the needs of the parent and the needs of your family. These needs will come into conflict when mother moves in, and you should be prepared for the inevitable.

A direct answer to your question is, No one can stop you legally from removing your mother from care in a rehab facility. You can take her AMA (against medical advice) whenever you want, or whenever she wants to leave.

A better answer is, why would you want to remove your mother from a supportive environment before she has to leave? She is now in a place where she is growing stronger and recovering from her illness, and she should take advantage of every covered day.

My suggestion is that you let your mother try returning to her home when she is discharged. If she tries to live independently and fails, she will be much more willing to relocate to your home. If you prohibit her from trying, her dependence on you will be a source of resentment.

Some rehab facilities have a trial apartment, where the patients can go through the activities they will need to be able to negotiate after discharge. Ask her rehab whether they have this set up. Your mother should be able to get herself out of bed and into the bathroom without assistance, and be able to get to the kitchen and prepare a simple meal without assistance, at the minimum. She also needs a way to call for immediate help if she falls. Since you are out of state, she needs a way to get to the grocery, pharmacy, and physician. Ask her how she plans to manage these tasks, and consider whether her plans are reasonable.

If she cannot manage independently, ask that the facility have a physician who can make a recommendation to her about planning how and where she is going to live after she leaves the facility. If the recommendation is that she cannot return to her home, it is far better that it comes from a professional than from you!

Community Answers

Presey answered...

very good advise Kay!

A fellow caregiver answered...

Hi I would take her home they can't stop you and if you can take care of her do it. My mom was in a NH for 2 1/2 yrs and supposed to be in one of the better ones non profit. The things I saw there people being yelled at I did report trust me people left in diapers I was there everyday. The coronor told me "they falsify records" I am not kidding she said that.

My mom couldn't feed herself and was in diapers and frail and bedridden. Like the commercial says something like eighty percent are abused. Its true. .

If at all costs get her out. Would you want to be there? I wish I could have but I'm on disability and needed help myself.

They will be nice when your there but when your gone its a different story.

Anyway no they cannot inprision your mom unless she is competent and for some reason wants to stay.

I would tell the social worker or discharge planner you want to take her home.

Mimimoo answered...

Go with your gut & get her out of there. I will be moving my mom ama tomorrow after the NH has given us the run around about getting her out. The xcuses have gotten lamer & lamer. My sisters & I are going with our gut on this one. Something isn't right & we are getting her out. Trust your gut on this one.

Trcathers answered...

I'm sorry but no you cannot just sign the resident out AMA. I tried this with my mother about three weeks ago and was told that she is "mentally incompetent" (she is not) and if I signed her out, they would call the police and have me arrested. Strangely enough, she was mentally competent enough to sign her Social Security checks over to them a week before I tried to remove her. Some nursing homes are not necessarily the best option of care for a loved one. Sometimes the major motivation of the nursing home is that the resident represents a body in a bed that pulls in a check every month. My mother has made substantial and steady progress in the nursing home. We are completely able to provide her with care at home and able to hire aides to care for her at home during times when we are not there but the nursing home seems to be doing everything they can to keep her there. An aide said to her several days ago "This is your home now. You are going to die here." and "Your family doesn't care about you anymore and doesn't want you." Both of those statements are lies and constitute emotional abuse, imo.

A fellow caregiver answered...

With the right supports, people can live at their own homes. Family members, personal care attendants, Medicaid waivers provide supports. Even assisted living beats a nursing my opinion. Call the ombudsman if the nursing home appears to be keeping a person from leaving and/or someone if physically or verbally abusing your family member.

Ski nana answered...

That is excellent advice. My mom had a major event happen and I was not here. Hospital kept saying she was doing great etc. I kept in touch daily from Friday night ER to Wed when she was released. I live 500 miles away and am an only child and dad is dead. I trusted the hospital....mistake. I had set up mom in a new assisted living place by me, purchased a couple of chairs, lamps etc. and got her new home ready. Then I headed down late Tuesday and arrived Wed morning to the rehab facility she was being sent to from hospital. I was staying a couple of weeks then in my car and going to her new home. I had a photo of mom in the hospital 4/22/17. Then when she was released from OSF to the transport for the nursing home rehab facility on 4/26/17 what arrived at the nursing home was a person who looked like a prisoner of war camp, dehydrated, obviously had a stroke after the 4/22/17 photo and I was totally blindsided. I had no idea my mom in the photo 4/22/17 would now be the mom who wears depends, sleeps, pureed food and will always be nursing home material and no assisted living. The hospital NEVER called me to inform me she had a major event over the Blood Pressure event Friday. So - it is good to get your loved one near you so you can be there for them and be their eyes, ears and voice. So now I am in the process this past week of securing a nursing home by me, getting a transport, getting a doctor visit etc. As far as I know they do not need a release for mom to leave with the transport as she is going to another nursing home. Also, find the nursing home who will work for you. The first one wanted me to do all the leg work and I was under a tremendous amount of emotional stress at this point. The 2nd one said here is what I am going to do and here is what I will need from you. Within 15 minutes my phone was ringing from folks wanting permission to give them information. Worked the same with the transport company I have secured. Those are the companies you want to work for you. I would never consider bringing mom to my home. You want a good marriage to become a bad one or a bad one to become no marriage then let them come to your home. It is a tremendous stress on the caregiver. I am checking in with mom, give her meals to help them out, and I let the facility do their expert jobs but they also know I come in and out and they never know my routine. Our big day starts tomorrow for mom to be transported to within 5 miles of my home. I am ready for this nightmare to be over and to start my life again with me "new" mom.