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Right to Leave a Nursing Home

Right to Leave

Dear Advocate,

My grandmother is in a nursing home and wishes to leave and return to her home. My grandmother is of sound mind and has expressed her wishes to the administrators to leave but the administrator has told her that she can’t. Can the nursing home keep her against her wishes?

Flummoxed in Florence

Dear Flummoxed,

Under California law, your grandmother and other residents have the right to leave the nursing home without advance notice. This right is restricted if a resident’s nursing home stay is subject to a court order or a resident’s has been determined to be incapacitated under California law. If a resident is incapacitated, the agent appointed through an Advance Health Care Directive or conservator appointed by the probate court may exercise the resident right to leave.

By law, the nursing home must review your grandmother’s discharge potential at least every three months. The nursing home must also help your grandmother by developing a discharge plan and arranging services to meet her needs at home. Advise the nursing home that your grandmother wants help with discharge planning. If the nursing home refuses to assist with discharge or allow your grandmother to leave, let CANHR know.(Pertinent laws and regulations are found at 42 C.F.R. §483.10(b)(4), 42 CFR §483.20(l), 22 CCR §72527(a)(4), H&S Code § 1599.71(b), H & S Code §1418.81)