Disruptive Mental Health Conditions in an Assisted Living Facility

An assisted living facility is designed to provide tailored care and support to individuals in need of help with such things as activities of daily living and even medication management in some instances. An assisted living facility can provide care and residency to individuals with certain types of mental health conditions, provided that they fit with specific parameters established by state law and associated regulations. 

As an aside, it is important to note that Alzheimer’s disease is not considered a mental health condition, although it does impact a person’s brain. Rather, Alzheimer’s is a physical disease that impacts the brain, a human organ. 

Examples of mental health conditions that an assisted living resident might be diagnosed include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • PTSD

A person can be considered for residency in an assisted living community if he or she does have a diagnosis of a mental health condition like depression or anxiety. Moreover, an individual can continue to reside in an assisted living community if a mental health condition like depression or anxiety develops while living in such a community.

There can be a significant exception to a resident of assisted living being permitted to continue to reside in a particular community. If a mental health condition results in an assisted living resident becoming disruptive, that individual may no longer be permitted to reside in that community.

There are four ways in which the resident of assisted living may be removed from a community:

  • Voluntary transfer from community
  • Transfer from community through decision of guardian
  • Transfer from community through order of the state
  • Eviction from assisted living facility

Voluntary Transfer From Community

Situations can arise in which an assisted living resident suffers from a mental health condition but is still legally competent. In other words, this individual is legally capable to make decisions for his or her self. 

There are also situations that even though a resident of an assisted living community is deemed legally competent, that individual nonetheless is displaying disruptive behavior because of a mental health condition. In situations of this nature, when a resident is disrupting an assisted living community because of a mental health condition, an attempt is apt to made by the facility to request that the resident move on his or her own volition. If the resident agrees and moves, that is an end to the issue and the process.

There may also be a clause in the underlying assisted living contract that might come into play in a situation like this scenario. In other words, either party might be able to end the assisted living agreement by providing appropriate notice to the other party. The threat of eviction might also be an avenue through which an assisted living facility is able to get a resident with legal capacity to agree to move from the community. 

Transfer From Community Through Decision of Guardian

If the resident of an assisted living community has developed a mental health condition while a resident, that person might have had a guardian appointed to represent his or her legal interests. If the resident has become disruptive in the community as the result of a mental health condition, and if there is a guardian appointed by the court to oversee the affairs of that resident, the guardian would be in a position to make decisions for the resident. 

An assisted living community could approach a guardian regarding the disruptive behavior of a resident that appears to arise out of a mental health condition. The administration of the facility can ask the guardian to move the resident somewhere else. 

The guardian does have the authority to make decisions as to where the person in his or her charge resides. Thus, a guardian would have the legal authority to agree to such a move from an assisted living community. 

Transfer From Community Through Order of the State

Finally, the possibility exists for the state to step in and order a resident to be moved to another facility when a disruptive mental health condition arises. This typically would occur if the facility itself has failed to take any appropriate action and the wellbeing of the specific resident with a mental health condition as well as other residents as well as staff and others appear to be at risk to some degree. 

Eviction From Assisted Living Facility

Each state lays out a process through which a resident of a facility can be evicted from assisted living. This includes the state of California:

  • There are three types of eviction notices that an assisted living community can give to a disruptive resident. On some level, the decision as to what type of notice to give depends upon the extent and nature of the disruption said to be caused by the resident. The three notices are:
    • 60-day eviction notice
    • 30-day eviction notice
    • 3-day eviction notice
  • According to the state of California, the 3-day eviction notice can be given is the resident is engaging in conduct or behavior that represents a threat to the physical or mental health of the resident or represents a threat to others in the facility. Others in the facility include not only fellow residents but staff and visitors to an assisted living community as well.
  • The proposed 3-day eviction notice must be sent to the California state licensing agent that oversees long-term care facilities like assisted living communities. The state agency must provide prior written approval of the proposes 3-day eviction notice before it can be served upon the resident in question.
  • The 3-day notice is then given to the resident (or his or her guardian, if a guardianship is in place) if approved by the state. 
  • Through the 3-day notice, the resident is provided three days to vacate the facility before formal eviction proceedings will commence in court.
  • A resident given a 30-day or 60-day notice to vacate has the stated amount of time to leave a facility voluntarily. Failing to do so can result in an eviction case being filed against the resident.
  • The assisted living facility must state in the notice the specific reason or reasons why the eviction of a resident is being sought.
  • The assisted living facility must also state in the notice specific facts that are said to support the decision to have the resident removed from the facility as a result of a disruptive mental health condition.