What happens when a nursing home closes?

The expansion of alternatives to nursing homes, such as assisted living and community care, has been financially challenging for the nursing home industry, and every year a small percentage of facilities close their doors. The state or federal government may also shutter a facility for safety issues.

Moving into a nursing home can be a stressful experience by itself. If that nursing home closes, residents can experience symptoms that include depression, agitation, and withdrawn behavior, according to The Consumer Voice, a long-term care consumer advocacy group. While there may not be much that can be done to prevent a closure, residents do have some rights.

When a nursing home is closing, it must provide notice to the state and any residents at least 60 days before the closure.

The notice must include the following:

  • The date of the closure and the reason for closing.
  • Information on the plan to relocate residents, including assurances that the nursing home will transfer residents to the most appropriate facility in terms of quality, services, and location, taking into consideration the needs, choice, and best interests of each resident.
  • Information about the residents’ appeal rights.
  • The name and address of the state’s long-term care ombudsman.

In addition, the nursing home must provide information to the receiving facility, including:

  • Contact information for the doctor responsible for each resident.
  • Information on each resident’s representative.
  • Information about any advance directives.
  • Any special instructions or precautions for ongoing care and any care plan goals.

Once a nursing home announces it is closing, it cannot admit any new patients. The facility must also provide orientation to residents to ensure a safe and orderly transfer.

For more information from The Consumer Voice on what is required when a nursing home closes, see: http://theconsumervoice.org/uploads/files/issues/1_-_Nursing_Home_Closure_Issue_Brief_5-15-2017.pdf and please feel free to contact us at your earliest convenience.