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What Happens to Elderly People When Their Nursing Home Shuts Down?

Garcia & Artigliere

What happens to the residents of nursing homes when the facility where they are living is closed? It’s a problem that is happening more often now. Even under the best of circumstances, it’s tough for elderly residents to make the transition to a new facility. Unfortunately, the circumstances are not always good, which makes the situation even worse for the residents.

Why Do Nursing Homes Close?

Sometimes nursing home owners voluntarily close their facilities. Other times, federal or state regulators may shut facilities down when nursing homes are unsafe or are providing inadequate care for residents.

It may seem like a good thing for residents to be removed from homes where they are not treated right. Unfortunately, the homes that they are moved to may not be much better. And even if the homes are better, the move itself can be stressful and traumatic for elderly residents.

Transfers from One Troubled Nursing Home to Another

The Sacramento Bee found that many residents in closing nursing homes were transferred to facilities that had serious problems. Many had poor ratings in the federal system that rates nursing homes based on the quality of care, staffing, and safety. Often the residents were sent to homes owned by the same companies that owned the home that was shutting down. The Bee found many sad instances of abuse at the nursing homes where patients ended up.

Why Are the Transfers So Traumatic?

In addition to problems in the homes where residents are sent to, the move itself can cause problems. The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care found that residents suffered when:

  • The nursing home providers did not plan properly for the move.
  • The providers did not communicate adequately with patients and their families.
  • The providers didn’t give enough notice of the move.
  • There were staffing problems caused by the move.
  • There weren’t appropriate facilities nearby that would accept residents.

What Can You Do?

If you have a loved one who lives in a nursing home that is shutting down, you should monitor the situation. Watch out for any signs that your loved one is being stressed or traumatized. Signs include depression, agitation, withdrawal, weight loss, or falls. If you suspect that the transfer is not being handled the way it should be, seek help. Call the experienced nursing home lawyers at the Garcia, Artigliere & Medby at (800) 328-2630 to find out more.


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