What Happens When a Nursing Home Closes?
A nursing home closure can be traumatic for residents who are forced to move. While there may not be much that can be done to prevent a closure, residents do have some rights.
Moving into a nursing home can be a stressful experience on its own. If that nursing home closes, residents can experience symptoms that include depression, agitation, and withdrawn behavior, according to The Consumer Voice, a long-term care consumer advocacy group. Nursing homes may close voluntarily because the owners decide to close up shop or involuntarily if the state or federal government shutters the facility for care or safety issues.
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 the resident, 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 resident's 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 the following:
- Contact information for the doctor responsible for the resident
- The resident's representative's information
- 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 nursing home 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, click here. For the results of a study on reducing the negative impact of nursing home closures, click here.