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Can We Bring a Hospitalized Family Member Home Rather than Admit Her to a Nursing Home As the Hospital Wants to Do?

  • August 4th, 2020
Q
My sister was transferred to a hospital from a nursing home, and then subsequently involuntarily discharged. The nursing home refused to readmit her, and now the hospital wants to discharge her to a new local nursing home, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our family wants to bring my sister home with necessary home health services in place to take care of her and to reduce her exposure to the coronavirus. The hospital is putting pressure on our family to admit her to the nursing home rather than be cared for at home. What are our rights?
A

This is a very important question during this pandemic. The answer is that it is your sister’s choice. Absent a court order to the contrary, your sister can live and receive care wherever she chooses. If she is not competent to make that decision, it is up to her agent under a health care proxy or durable power of attorney for health care. If she hasn’t appointed an agent, some states designate decisionmakers based on their relationship to the patient, but other states do not do this. Absent an appointed or designated decisionmaker, if the family is in complete agreement, the hospital may defer to them. Or they may require you to go to court to be appointed guardian to have the legal right to make this decision on your sister’s behalf.

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Last Modified: 08/04/2020

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