The number of residents who are evicted from nursing homes is rising, placing the safety of vulnerable people in jeopardy and prompting enhanced scrutiny of the reasoning and methods behind the moves. While there are legitimate reasons for removing a resident from a nursing home, profit is often the motive behind eviction decisions made by many nursing home facilities.
The law narrowly defines the reasons a nursing home facility may evict a resident. Nursing homes may evict residents for failure to pay for care and services rendered, if the facility is closing down and ceasing operations, or if the resident threatens the health and safety of caregivers or other residents. They may also evict a resident if the individual’s health improves and the services the facility provides are no longer necessary.
Many discharge notices issued by nursing care facilities cite these as their reasons for a decision. However, many of these claims are false. In 2015 alone, there were more than 9,000 complaints filed over involuntary discharge from residential care facilities. Lawsuits filed everywhere from Maryland to California show that a significant number of individuals evicted from nursing homes require extensive care, such as is required for patients with Alzheimer’s, dementia, cancer, and other disabling injuries. These conditions are expensive to treat and the lawsuits argue that profit is the driving motive behind the increasing number of nursing home resident evictions.
Recourse for Residents
State and Federal laws require nursing homes to provide reasonable care to the patients who contract their services. Individuals or their family members may file an appeal to reverse the eviction decision with the Illinois Department of Public Health which oversees the more than 1,200 nursing home facilities located throughout the state. However, while the IDPH may order the nursing home to readmit the individual, the facility may choose to ignore the order. When this happens, many individuals and their families choose to pursue claims for damages against nursing care providers who neglect their responsibilities. Individuals can pursue financial damages caused by an unlawful eviction from a nursing home including those resulting from moving, the securing of temporary care, personal injuries that were caused or exacerbated by the move, emotional distress, etc.