Residents may be discharged from an assisted living facility for a number of reasons. Sometimes the individual chooses to leave the facility. In other cases, a resident may be discharged involuntarily. If a discharge is initiated by the resident or representative the provider must be given at least 30 days notice. However, the resident has the right to immediately leave the facility in a health care emergency.
When you are considering an assisted living facility, look for the following in the Resident Agreement:
- What are the conditions under which a resident can be discharged?
- If a person is discharged involuntarily, is there an internal appeals process?
Discharge Initiated by the Facility
The Resident Agreement states the terms and conditions for involuntary discharge, and explains the requirements for termination of the agreement. This document also explains whether any of the fees paid to the facility may be refunded, and under what circumstances.
The facility may initiate discharge for a number of reasons. One reason is nonpayment of fees. Another reason is if the resident requires a higher level of care than the level for which the facility is licensed. When the resident is discharged for this reason, the facility is required to assist in finding another suitable residence. However, when the resident's level of care exceeds the level for which the facility is licensed, the facility may apply for a waiver from the state to keep the resident in the facility if the resident wishes to stay and the facility can provide the needed care.
The resident has a right to 30-days notice, except in the case of a health care emergency, when the resident may be moved immediately to a safe setting. If the resident's behavior creates a danger to other residents or to staff, the resident may be discharged immediately.
Other Facts about Discharge
If the resident moves from an assisted living facility to another facility, the assisted living program must provide the receiving facility with any information about the resident (diagnoses, medications, etc.) that would be necessary for a smooth transition.
Within 30 days of discharge, the assisted living provider is required to give the resident or representative a final statement of accounts and any refunds due to the resident. The provider is also required to return any money or property held by the facility that belongs to the resident.
If you believe that you or your relative have been discharged inappropriately and there is no internal appeals process (or you have appealed and been denied), contact an attorney. If you need help finding a lawyer, you may call the Maryland State Bar Association at 410-685-7878 for a referral to an Elder Law Attorney. If your relative has limited financial resources, call the Legal Aid Assisted Living Project at 410-296-6705 or 1-800-367-7563 for long distance callers.