Is there a way to get Mom out of her skilled nursing facility without getting Adult Protective Services involved?

Socalhbt asked...

My Mother is in a skilled nursing facility for about 3 weeks now with advanced COPD, they will not discharge her in the families care. The Hospital she was in discharged to a skilled nursing facility it was not our choice. Now they will not let us take her home. The skilled nursing facility doctor is saying it's against medical advice, and the social worker says if she is removed APS ( Adult Protective Services) will be involved. We just want her home where she's comfortable. We understand that she will need 24/7 care and are trying to find the resources to help off set some of the costs for this kind of care. Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Thanks T

Expert Answer

Barbara Repa, a senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

In most cases, doctors and skilled nursing staff members do not have the right or authority to retain a resident contrary to that person's wishes and the wishes of the immediate family members.

But reading between the lines, it sounds as if both the doctor and social worker are strongly convinced that your mother would not receive the medical care she needs at home. Threats to bring Adult Protective Services into the picture usually come about when there has been evidence that a person has been neglected or mistreated by others in the past"”or has simply shown that he or she is incapable of self-care.

If you want to take your mother home and believe she could get adequate care through family members, community services, in-home care providers, hospice or some combination of these, you will have to plead your case.

In the best scenario, you could sit down with the facility doctor and the social worker and get an accurate and detailed explanation of your mother's care plan. That would then allow you to be sure those needs could be fulfilled at home"”and to budget for them.

Since it sounds as if there may be some bad blood between the folks at the facility and your family members, it might be a good idea to enlist the help of a more objective outsider who could help smooth the waters. One source for this might be the ombudsman assigned to the facility. Contact information for that office should be posted at the nursing home"”or you can find it through the website at Another possibility might be a local geriatric care manager; your Area Agency on Aging ( should be able to make a referral for you.

If your mother is able to voice a preference for being at home, this should speak loudly. As would our willingness to come up with a workable care plan"”and perhaps even agree to try out the care at home on a trial basis.