Nursing homes can legally transfer patients against family's wil - WNEM TV 5

Nursing homes can legally transfer patients against family's will

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TEMPERANCE, Mich. (WNEM) -

Many have had to make the difficult decision to move a loved one into a nursing home.

For some families they're faced with that heart-wrenching decision more than once.

Nursing homes are allowed to involuntarily transfer patients they deem high maintenance or low income.

One family shared their story of their 93-year-old family matriarch being moved to a nursing home further away from her loved ones.

What the Hotchkiss family in Temperance experienced with one nursing home can impact every Michigan family with an elderly loved one needing nursing home care.

"It's a total roller coaster. You have ups and downs and everything is between," Glen Hotchkiss said.

He and his wife Glenda have been forced to fight over the care of his mother Phyllis. In March she was moved from Hickory Ridge Nursing Home nearby to another nursing home 30 minutes away, against the family's wishes and despite two court battles.

At 93, on Medicaid and suffering dementia, Phyllis is typical of patients nationally. Pawned off, without the permission of families, to other homes and facilities because they're high maintenance or low income.

It's called involuntary transfer and it's quite legal. But it's hard on patients and their families.

"The transition to the other nursing home was, you know, we've seen her decline in the last maybe six weeks since she's been there," Glenda Hotchkiss said.

Her husband said they have no choice.

"If the nursing home decides to give you about involuntary transfer and the judge OKs it, you're basically gonna be moving somewhere," Glen Hotchkiss said.

Advocates are pushing for a national discussion on involuntary transfer, but for now, families are powerless.

The Hotchkiss family even had a personal advocated, but it didn't help.

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