When an elderly California resident requires care in a nursing home, it is often because he or she can no longer live at home and requires more care than a place such as a residential care facility for the elderly (RCFE) or assisted-living facility might be able to provide. However, according to a recent article from the Associated Press, nursing home patients who are more challenging and for whom it is more difficult for staff members to provide care are being targeted for eviction. The topic of nursing home evictions and elder abuse has been an issue for several months now, with advocates arguing that nursing homes and other facilities are refusing to readmit patients following hospital stays. For example, an NPR report emphasized the severity of these allegations and the implications for senior health and well-being.
Yet now, according to an analysis conducted by the Associated Press, it looks as though patients at skilled nursing facilities who require more extended care than other patients may also be subject to wrongful evictions. When elderly patients who need nursing home care are evicted without warning and for reasons beyond the resident’s control, are we looking at situations of nursing home abuse?
Seniors with Dementia Alleged to be Targeted by Skilled Nursing Facilities
According to the article, nursing homes are alleged to be targeting poorer patients, as well as those who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. As the article explains, “removing them makes room for less labor-intensive and more profitable patients,” and their families often do not know if they have any recourse. As one advocate highlighted, when elderly nursing home residents are evicted—regardless of their socioeconomic statuses or experiences with dementia—still want to have a sense of community in the place they are living. When they are evicted for reasons that may have to do with a facility’s interest in having “easier” patients, those residents lose a great sense of community, and they also suffer when they no longer have familiar caregivers.
For one reason or another, nursing home across the country, according to the article, have labeled certain residents as “undesirable” and have taken steps to evict them. Those reasons include but are not limited to the following:
- Resident exhibiting signs of aggression related to dementia;
- Resident requiring additional levels of medical care; and
- Resident with a family member who complaints about treatment at the facility.
The article cites complaints from family members—which may, in many cases, be legitimate—as reasons to simply evict an elderly resident.
Socioeconomic Status Also Plays a Role
As we mentioned above, a patient’s socioeconomic status can also play a role in a facility’s decision to evict. The article explains that most involuntary discharges from nursing homes involve patients who receive Medicaid benefits. In short, facilities may prefer to have its beds filled “with a private-pay resident or a short-term rehabilitation patient, whose care typically brings a far higher reimbursement rate under Medicare.”
If your elderly loved one was evicted from a California nursing home, you should learn more about filing a lawsuit by contacting an experienced San Diego elder abuse attorney. An advocate at our firm can discuss your options with you today. Contact the Walton Law Firm for more information.
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(photo courtesy of Scott Liddell)