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How to Transfer Your Loved One to a New Nursing Home

By: Anapol Weiss

Introduction: Transferring a loved one to a new nursing home can be a challenging decision, but it’s sometimes necessary to ensure their well-being and quality of care. This step-by-step guide will help you navigate the process effectively, ensuring your loved one’s comfort and safety.

1. Assess the Need for a Transfer:

Why do you want to transfer your loved one? Are there issues with their current nursing home’s care, facilities, or staff? Or do they have specific needs that are not being met?

Has your loved one suffered an injury? If you suspect an injury, you may consult with an attorney.

Have you observed signs of abuse or neglect? Signs of abuse come in many different shapes and sizes. Signs of abuse or neglect may be as obvious as a fractured bone or a bed sore but could be as discreet as your loved one simply being more quiet than usual. If you suspect abuse or neglect, you may consult with an attorney.

Additionally, you may report suspected abuse or neglect to the Facility’s nursing and management team. Be sure to record the names, dates, times, and details of your reports as well as any responses to your reports. Be sure to follow through with the nursing and management team following your reports. Obtain documentation from the nursing home regarding the alleged incident.

You may also report suspected abuse or neglect to your state’s Department of Health, the local area agency on aging, and the Ombudsman. Again, be sure to record the names, dates, times, and details of your reports as well as any responses to your reports.

Have you discussed the transfer with your loved one, taking their wishes and preferences into account? Often, when a loved one has been a resident of a nursing home for an extended period, they form relationships with fellow residents and staff. While their care may indeed be substandard, your loved one may still reject the idea of a transfer as they cherish the relationships that they’ve formed. This may be a difficult area to navigate when your utmost priority is the health and safety of your loved one.

2. Research New Nursing Homes:

Begin by researching potential nursing homes in your area. Consider factors like location, quality of care, staff-to-resident ratios, available services, and overall reputation.

A useful resource for researching potential nursing homes is the Nursing Home Compare website. Find Healthcare Providers: Compare Care Near You | Medicare. This site provides information regarding the quality of resident care measured by a star-rating system for several categories. Five stars is the highest score and one star is the lowest. Consider the star ratings of the nursing homes prior to deciding which facility to transfer your loved one to.

Visit several nursing homes to evaluate their facilities and talk to staff and residents. While the star rating system can be helpful, a visit to the facility can be very important as well. Meet with the staff. Meet with the activities coordinator, the social worker, and the management team. Inspect the facility to make sure that it is well kept and clean.

3. Consult with Medical Professionals:

Discuss the transfer with your loved one’s primary care physician and any specialists. They can offer insights into the most suitable facilities based on your loved one’s medical needs.

Ensure all medical records are up to date and accessible for the new facility.

Discuss with the primary care physician the possibility of having your loved one discharged home. Often, the family may not have the capabilities or resources to care for the resident in the home setting. One of the options to ensure that your loved one receives appropriate care upon discharge to the family’s home is to hire home health nurses. Again, be sure to discuss this option with the primary care physician and insurance providers.

4. Review Financial Considerations:

Understand the costs associated with the new nursing home and evaluate your financial resources. You may need to consider Medicaid or other financial assistance options.

Make sure that the new facility accepts the type of health insurance that your loved one has.

Contact the nursing home’s financial department to discuss payment plans, options, and health insurance.

5. Coordinate With the Current Nursing Home:

Inform the current nursing home of your intention to transfer your loved one. Request copies of their medical records and a list of medications.

6. Plan the Move:

Organize the logistics of moving day, including transportation, and packing personal belongings.

Ensure you have a list of emergency contacts, medical directives, and power of attorney documentation on hand.

Important: Review the admissions paperwork for the new facility very carefully. Many nursing homes will request that an arbitration agreement be signed at the time of admission.

Be aware that you can decline the arbitration agreement. Arbitration agreements generally limit you and your loved one’s rights in the event of neglect, abuse, or injury. You may consult with an attorney prior to signing an arbitration agreement or you may simply decline the arbitration agreement outright. Be sure to request a copy of the declined arbitration agreement for your records.

7. Transition Smoothly:

Make the move as smooth as possible for your loved one. Provide emotional support and assist with the transition as much as possible.

Familiarize them with the new nursing home’s staff, routines, and amenities. This will help build a rapport with the new facility, and this could help ensure that your loved one is well taken care of.

8. Monitor Care and Communication:

Keep a close eye on your loved one’s care in the new facility. Regularly communicate with the nursing home staff to ensure their needs are met.

Encourage your loved one to provide feedback about their experience.

9. Be Patient and Supportive:

Understand that the adjustment to a new nursing home can be challenging for your loved one. Offer emotional support and patience as they settle into their new environment.

10. Review and Adjust as Needed:

Regularly assess your loved one’s well-being in the new nursing home. If issues arise, address them promptly, and, if necessary, consider another transfer.

Conclusion: Transferring your loved one to a new nursing home is a significant decision that requires careful planning and consideration. By following these steps and being proactive in your approach, you can help ensure that your loved one receives the best possible care and support in their new environment.