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Considerations for Moving a Loved One Home from a Nursing Facility, Rest Home or Assisted Living Residence

older woman smilingDuring the declared State of Emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, families may be considering whether their loved one should move from a Nursing Facility, Rest Home or Assisted Living Residence. The following information about the processes different facilities follow and the questions to ask can help in this complex decision making process.

Step 1: What type of facility does my loved one reside in?

The processes and implications are different depending on where your loved one resides.

If a Loved One Lives in an Assisted Living Residence (ALR):If a Loved One Lives in a Nursing Facility or Rest Home:

There is no uniform process to move out as the tenancy is governed by landlord-tenant law; however,

  • If the move is permanent, it is important to check the resident agreement to understand any applicable terms or penalties for terminating residency.

  • If the move is temporary, it is important to inform the residence (preferably in writing) that the family member will be spending time away from the ALR and continue to make required payments to preserve your family member’s tenancy so that they can return to their unit at a later date.

  • It is also important to coordinate the date, time, and process for the move or subsequent return with the ALR and ensure access to any necessary medications, supplies, and assistive equipment.

If you have decided on a discharge home, you can begin the process by:

  • Contacting the social worker at the nursing home to begin to facilitate the discharge process outlined below.

  • The resident may initiate this contact on their own or if a resident does not have decisional capacity, the authorized contact or guardian can make this request.

  • It is important to note that if a family chooses to discharge a loved one from a nursing facility or rest home, their loved one is not guaranteed re-admittance to that facility.

Have you factored in your loved one’s opinion about whether s/he wants to stay or go?

Step 2: Primary Considerations for Moving a Loved One

Here are some key questions to consider in moving a loved one from their facility to home:

  • Have you factored in your loved one’s opinion about whether s/he wants to stay or go?
  • Is there consistent support and a backup plan should that support not be available?
  • Is your home able to handle your loved one’s needs?
  • Has your loved one been tested to ensure they do not have the virus?
  • Is there a plan for what would happen if someone in your home gets infected?
  • What happens if your loved one becomes ill or needs more care than you can provide once they are in your home?
  • Can your loved one return to the facility once the pandemic is over?
  • Will your loved one have to reapply for Medicaid before going back to a nursing home?
  • What specific services and supports does your loved one need?

Step 3: What are your loved one’s needs? Who will provide assistance?

This chart below can assist with evaluating your loved one’s needs, help you gage the level of assistance s/he may require, and who within the family/social support network can provide the in-home assistance. This chart can be shared with the social worker to help determine how much assistance is required and if an outside service is needed.

NeedsIndependent/Able to do for themselvesFamily/Friend/In-home Support will provide needed assistanceWill need outside assistance
Bathing/Personal Hygiene      
Getting dressed/undressed      
Toileting      
Walking (Ambulating)      
Getting into and out of chair or bed (Transferring)      
Taking or reminding to take medication      
Meal Preparation      
Shopping      
Laundry      
Transportation to Medical Appointments      
Supervision (due to cognition/memory loss)      
Other      

Step 4: If You Decide Outside Services Are Needed

Now that you have a sense of what your loved one’s needs are and which of these needs requires outside assistance, there are resources in your community to assist you with these decisions.

Aging Services Access Points (ASAPs), including LifePath, are available in every region in the state and can help evaluate the following questions regarding the long-term care needs of a loved one.

  • What services or care are available to support community living?
  • What assistive devices or home modifications are available to support my loved one living in the community?
  • Does insurance cover any services, care and/or home modifications? If not, what funding, loans or donations may be available?

Additionally, if your loved one was previously receiving in-home services from their local ASAP, the ASAP can assist with reinstating services upon their return home.

Call LifePath at 413-773-5555, X1230 or 978-544-2259, X1230 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to get the help you need.