I need information on my Mother's rights in regards to nursing homes.

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My mother is 58 years old and physically handicapped. In the past two and a half years she has been in three different nursing homes. Recently, she decided she would like to go back to the facility she was at previously. When she spoke to the administrator he informed her that a couple of his nurse aids said not to let her return because she was "too demanding, and they feared for their job while she was around." Based on the nurse aid's request he is considering denying my mother's readmission. I want to know if this is legal? Can they deny my mother's admission simply based on a couple of nurse aids saying she was too demanding? To me this translates as she caused more work for them, which they did not want to do. Can anyone out there give me info on if that is legal?


Yes, a nursing home can refuse to admit someone. Given what you have been told as to why they want to refuse her admission, though, if accurate, you may want to assure them that they are not under any legal threat by your mother -- that she is all talk. My mother didn't like some of the things that were happening to her in her nursing home and would tell the aides that she was going to report them to my sister, who is a high-powered NYC attorney. I told the aides not to worry -- that I approved of what they were doing (they weren't hurting her or anything like that -- they were making her change into night clothes rather than wearing her daytime clothes to bed; making her clean up herself; things to her benefit). I told them NOT to be afraid, there would be no legal action for any care that they were providing. You can't really blame someone for being afraid of losing their job due to legal action -- they'd be hard-pressed to get a job elsewhere. Demanding clientele can make it sound like they are repeatedly ignored, which can be a problem. And, of course, there can always be that ONE time when something really does happen when someone doesn't immediately respond to them. Nursing homes are short-staffed, and they do their best. My mother can be demanding, too. And there have been times when I've been ticked off because someone didn't come when she needed them. But I tried to look at things from the workers' perspectives, and their hands really are tied sometimes.
My background is as a paralegal in a health law dept. This is not intended as legal advice.
You cannot imagine the threats of lawsuits, threats to report to DPW, and just plain harassment by family members that nursing homes must endure. Some amount of it is expected. Families with a loved one in a nursing home are often under stress over it themselves and behave inconsiderately and unreasonably. The staff at nursing homes are generally used to that. However, a good nursing home which has worked hard for its reputation cannot put it at risk. If you truly want to help your mom move back to the previous home, meet with the director of the facility and have an honest discussion about your mom's last stay with them. It sounds like less than the whole story that she's being denied readmission because of "a couple of nurse's aides saying she was too demanding." That's your mom's perception of it, now get the whole picture. I agree with "trishrtrish". You can't tell what kind of care she's getting by only listening to her reports about it. Just recently, I was visiting a resident in an AL. As I was walking down the hall to her room, I saw a nurse's aide walking out. The first thing the resident said to me was "Oh, I'm glad to see you! Will you pour me a glass of water, they've been ignoring me for hours!" Residents in nursing homes have been robbed of control of virtually every aspect of their lives. That causes some to behave in a way that some may see as demanding. Really it's just their way of coping; of grabbing back a little control, even it it's in negative or meaningless ways. Good aides understand this and remain caring and kind no matter how they're treated. I know an aide who put up with a resident who habitually grabbed at her breasts, just because of her enormous compassion for him. There are definitely awful aides out there and sometimes they wind up in the best of facilities. But, the unsung heroes of senior health care are the good aides, who do an incredibly demanding and largely unrewarding job for very little pay.
I don't know the legal answer to this question, but I have been told that if my mother had continued to cause problems, the nursing home would give 30 days notice for her to move to another facility. My mother is behaving far better these days, but I do understand the plight of the nursing home. It might be a good idea as suggested above to sit down and talk with the administrator and discuss just what problems need to be addressed with respect to your mother.

Maybe an entirely different and new facility might be best? Do hope things work out for your poor mother and hope you find a place where she can be happy. Hugs to you.
Dear terrimerritts careful what you preach please. Single adults like myself; how do we provide in home care when we have to work all week to just support ourselves. I don't know who stayed home to watch all of your loved ones but obviously you had money coming in from some source. Additionally, not every family is wealthy which means alot of families cannot afford professional in home care.
I agree do not put mother in a place where she is not welcomed but the remainder of your post seemed to me to be very harsh.
Glad you had the perfect life and the opportunity to care for loved ones at home and you were still able to pay your bills and eat. Tell us where that money tree is.
terrimerritts, it's clear from your various posts that you believe home is always the best place for a person to receive care and that anyone who isn't at home has been discarded by their family. You are entitled to your opinions, but please don't judge others who don't share them. Not everyone has the advantage of being financially supported while they devote themselves to caring for their relative. Not every person with dementia can be safely cared for at home. Not every elderly person prefers the company of their adult child day after day to the company of their contemporaries. And, suggesting that a child stops taking care of their parent on the day they move into a senior facility is cruel. Care continues; visits, errands, doctors appointments, being summoned for emergencies, etc.

Nostalgic notions about the bliss of multi-generational living and nursing elders at home are just that. My mother's grandparents both lived in nursing homes (in the 1940's) when their care became more than their children could handle. My father's mother cared for two relatives in her home (in the early 50's), nursing them both through cancer. She made her children promise that when she was no longer able to take care of herself, that they would not bring her into their homes. She even extracted the same promise from me (though I was in my early twenties at the time). Because she cared for their relatives, my grandmother was unable to work. Even when she took part-time jobs to help make ends meet, she would inevitably have to quit them. My grandfather, who had a heart condition, had to work extremely long hours to earn enough overtime to support them all.

Then, as now, choosing to care for elders at home is a luxury not everyone can afford. And, it is often NOT the best choice. Please stop hurling guilt at the people who come to this forum for suggestions and support. You obviously have a lot of experience, so you surely must have some helpful advice to give, instead of hurtful judgements.
HI isn'teasy....I bet the person who is judging in this post will not respond to our posts. Suz Marie
Terrimerritts - Your post does a disservice to the countless number of health care workers who go above and beyond to care for our elderly in nursing homes. The professionalism and caring that I have encountered has been outstanding. Abuse can occur in any setting. Thank you to all the highly educated and tremendously caring nurses, CNA's, social workers, etc in nursing homes. A handicapped person requires tremendous care that often canot take place in a home setting. There are so many shoes to walk in before every understanding a caregivers life and decisions. Blessings to all.
Hey terrimerritts; hey tell us where you got your money from since you believe we can all afford to keep our LO's home. I don't see you addressing this. A working hard husband /bread winner who can afford the luxery of a state at home mom. I knew you would not answer us. Go ahead. Drop and bomb and then run.
Maybe you are lucky enough terrimerritts to work at home; not all people have that kind of employment; in addition to that sounds like you have a husband; so you have had 2 incomes. Makes it easier to care for people when there is money to spend.
fayla5m, are you any closer to resolving this issue?

Why has your mother been in 3 different nursing homes? Why does she want to switch back to one she left earlier? What I'm really wondering about is whether she is likely to be happier in a different setting. Are there some fundamental issues that need to be addressed where ever she happens to be? Might advocating for changes where she is be more productive than fighting to get her into a place where she has had trouble in the past?

All care centers are not created equal! And she is certainly entitled to try to find one that best fits her particular needs. I hope she finds a good match soon.

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