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Someone I am close to, who has no family, has been placed in a nursing home by her doctor, after a trip to the hospital. She wants to come home, we suspect possible abuse, and if not, certainly neglect. The person wants to come home very badly. This person likely needs in home care which she can afford and can be arranged for. I have been asked to help and really have no idea what to do for this person who deserves better than what is happening to her. I just need to know, what rights does an elderly person who has been placed in a nursing home have? Can she get herself out? Does her doctor need to get her out? Can her health proxy get her out? Can the person's POA get her out? Please advise.

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If they can really afford plenty of in-home care, they could come home. If there is no one who can check up on the home care regularly, try another better nursing home. Spend some time at the NH, and chat with families of other residents to see what they think of the care. People don't get instant service in a NH, but they shouldn't be left too long without attention.

Look for a geriatric case manager to advise you. The GCM could even run the whole show. Also a home care agency like Home Instead could help her set it up. Your involvement could include making sure that she is being well taken care of by the professionals.

As others have said, don't assume that she will be perfectly happy even if she can come home.
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Dear Cindy - you have no background profie. Can we have a few more details as to the situation? How old is this person, what proximity to you, mental status, capable of independent living, any medical or financial POA's in place with anyone? What are you willing to do for him/her? Who is normanlly responsible for him/her? This will make it ieasier for everyone to give you useful answers. In the meantime, I offer some general points for your consideration.

Just to give an idea, I personally am in the position of caring for a 92 y/o man who I refer to as my "uncle". He still has his 'marbles', still lives independently and has no living blood relations to take care of him. We basically 'adopted' him as part of our family many years ago. It all developed very gradually, and now I have sole responsibility for him with the medical and financial POA's finally in place. Currently I am arranging for various services for home care, which his medical plans cover. I just cannot do it all myself.

My first advice to you is to start reading everything you can find on this site under the Money&Legal tab regarding elder care responsibilities, rights, etc. Beyond that, I would say that if the medical doctors do not consider it safe to for the elderly person to live alone with no help, they cannot release the patient home to self-care. If he/she has no family at all, and no other person has legal responsibility for him/her, and since you have been asked to help (by whom??), then you n eed to sit down with perhaps the social worker at the facility for some basic guidelines as to what care he/she needs at home, and how much you are willing to be involved, whether or not you are interested in being the legal guardian, or POA. In addition, it is critical that you speak to an ELDER LAW attorney. Bsically if a person is mentally competent, they can choose their Medical and Financial POA's (realistically the same person). If not menatally competent, then you have to go to court and file for guardianship (over the person) and/or conservatorship (over the finances). Taking full responsibility for an elder is a humongous chunk out of your life and can drain you pysically, mentally, emotionally and financially. So take all these things into serious consideration. I would also plan on arranging for fair compensation for your services. Your time holds value and don't let anyone convince you otherwise.
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This person should stay in a NH, but you definitely can help out, with frequent visits, and staying in touch with the staff. If they know someone cares, they will be more attentive. She may be unhappy at first, but you can help her adjust and make some new friends. Bring her some of her favorite things if you can.
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Keep in mind, that most elderly people want to go home. But, sometimes when you get them home, they still state that they want to go home. They mean they want to go back to what they once were.

If you suspect neglect, you must report it to your state office, that inspect nursing homes. Do you have POA?

Your friend is not a prisoner. If she is able to walk, she can leave on her own power. But, it would be against doctor's orders and she might have a hard time getting treatment in the future.

I am 1500 miles from my mother's NH. When she mentions leaving, I tell her to schedule the NH van and go home. (She never will)

I am sorry that the nursing home that your friend is in, isn't suitable.
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Unless someone has a guardianship/conservatorship on the person and a court has deemed her mentally incapciated...then no one can hold someone against their will...
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Get a hold of an eldercare attorney for her. Sounds like this could be a legal issue.
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