Before you select an assisted living community for your loved one, be sure that you understand the regulations concerning resident admissions and departures. Sometimes, families are shocked and dismayed to discover that their mom or dad cannot spend the rest of their days in the community that they have chosen to move into.
Every state has rules governing the circumstances under which a resident can be discharged from assisted living. Some states have more stringent rules than others, and many are toughening discharge rules due to abuse by a few unscrupulous companies that operate senior living communities. Fortunately, there are many excellent assisted living communities that work very hard to keep their residents in place, healthy and happy. They prioritize their comfort and care.
During your community evaluation, ask for a copy of the resident admission agreement and read the rules regarding discharge and transfer of residents. Ask questions if you're not clear on what the rules mean for your loved one. Here are the state rules for Georgia and Tennessee relating to resident discharge:
The state of Georgia's Department of Community Health, Healthcare Facility Regulation Division oversees assisted living residences. Georgia rules require an admission agreement that includes a written procedure to handle discharge and transfer. The administrator is obligated to contact the assigned representative (usually a family member) or legal surrogate if one exists when they seek to discharge or transfer a resident. The assisted living residence must give 30 days written notice of this intention unless it's what's called an "immediate" transfer, which occurs "if the resident develops a physical or mental condition requiring continuous medical care or nursing care."
The community can discharge a resident when any one of these occur:
- "The resident requires continuous medical or nursing care;
- The resident's specific care needs cannot be met by available staff in the community, e.g. the resident is not ambulatory
- The community is not able to evacuate all current residents within established fire safety standards."
Tennessee's Department of Health, Division of Health Care Facilities regulates assisted living communities in its state. Like Georgia, the state requires an accurate written statement regarding fees and services that are provided to residents upon admission. Each resident must be given a copy of resident's right for review and signature.
A community can discharge a resident if he or she:
- "Requires treatment of extensive stage III or IV decubitus ulcer or exfoliative dermatitis;
- Requires continuous nursing care;
- Has an active, infectious, and reportable disease in a communicable state that requires isolation;
- Exhibits verbal or physically aggressive behavior which poses a physical threat to self or others;
- Requires physical or chemical restraints, not including psychotropic medications prescribed for a manageable mental disorder;
- Has needs that cannot be safely and effectively met in the community setting."
Due diligence is your responsibility as you research the best assisted living community for your loved one. Schedule a tour with one of our communities to discuss any questions you may have about your loved one's transition to an assisted living community.