Bringing your elderly loved ones to a West Virginia nursing home can be a sobering experience. Naturally, you expect the nursing home staff to provide the utmost standards for care and give your loved ones a comfortable, safe environment. As such, hearing that your loved one is getting discharged and/or transferred can be shocking.
If this is the case, you may be wondering whether a nursing home can just “dump” your loved ones wherever they please. Additionally, you may be wondering how you can fight this decision or otherwise hold the nursing home accountable for any injury or wrongful death that the decision caused. At the Love Law Firm, Charleston WV attorney Charles M. Love has remained a strong advocate for the rights of nursing home residents, and we provide our clients with a rigorous, proactive legal representation when injustice occurs.
Nursing Home “Dumping” Can Be Elder Abuse, but Is It Legal?
“Dumping” isn’t quite the right term when discussing nursing home discharges. The nursing home won’t kick an elderly individual to the curb and say, “Sayonara!” However, many advocates for nursing home rights, and victims of unlawful discharges, claim that nursing home dumping is elder abuse. In some cases of negligent discharge, it is abuse.
But, it is important to remember that it may be perfectly legal and within the rights of the nursing home to discharge or evict a resident. A legal discharge, transfer, or eviction is possible as long as certain criteria are met, including:
- The resident’s health has improved and makes the facility’s services unnecessary
- The facility cannot meet the resident’s needs and a discharge or transfer is necessary
- The resident endangers the health and safety of other residents
- After receiving reasonable and appropriate notice, the resident has not paid (or applied for Medicaid or Medicare coverage) to stay at the nursing home
- The facility has stopped operating
Assessing the Nursing Home’s Decision
In order for a nursing home to ethically discharge or transfer a resident, that nursing home must follow a specific protocol to ensure the patient’s safety and to make proper arrangements for care after the discharge. For instance, the nursing home should:
- Prepare a summary of the resident’s mental and physical status
- Provide a post-discharge plan
- Notify a family member or representative about the discharge and the reasoning behind the decision at least 30 days in advance
Furthermore, the nursing home is supposed to document everything in order to avoid foul play. When assessing the nursing home’s decision, make sure that there is a post-discharge plan and thorough documentation regarding the decision to transfer or discharge
Call the Love Law Firm in Charleston, WV Today
If you or a loved one is being discharged from a West Virginia nursing home, call the Love Law Firm today. Attorney Charles M. Love has years of experience representing individuals who’ve suffered from nursing home and abuse, and we boast the experience and know-how to present a rigorous lawsuit and case. Whether the discharge already occurred or you were notified, get the legal representation of Charles M. Love on your side. For a free, no obligation consultation, contact our Charleston, WV, law office today at (304) 344-5683.