Health Condition Relocation From Assisted Living

Situations can arise in which a resident of an assisted living community needs to be relocated to another type of facility. In many instances, family members or other loved ones oversee such a transition. Unfortunately, there are some situations in which the state of California needs to step in and facilitate a relocation from an assisted living community because of the health condition of a resident.

Notification of Decision to Relocate

When the state of California initiates a health condition relocation from assisted living, the process begins with an official notification sent to the administrator of the community where the person with a health condition necessitating change resides. The notification also goes to the resident. If the respondent is the subject of a guardianship order, the guardian is provided the notification as well. Finally, if there is no such responsible individual, the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman is also notified.

The extensive notification scheme is designed to ensure that the best interests of the assisted living resident are protected fully when the need for relocation arises. We discuss this process to underscore the fact that the wellbeing of a resident of an assisted living community are always the primary objective of those associated with the facility.

Preparation of Relocation Plan

The assisted living facility is charged by the state with developing an appropriate relocation plan. The only real instance when this would not be the case is if the facility itself was deemed to have contributed to the health issue or condition that requires relocation. 

The relocation plan needs to contain certain elements that include:

  • A specific date for beginning as well as a date certain for completion of the process of safely relocating the resident. The time frame for relocation in a plan may provide for immediate relocation but shall not exceed 30 days.
  • A specific date when the resident and the resident’s responsible person, if any, shall be notified of the need for relocation. 
  • A specific date when consultation with the resident’s physician, and hospice agency, if any, shall occur to obtain a current medical assessment of the resident’s health needs. This is done to determine the appropriate facility type for relocation. In addition, this consultation process is undertaken to ensure that the resident’s health care needs continue to be met at all times during the relocation process.
  • The method by which the current assisted living facility will participate in the identification of an acceptable relocation site. This is to be done in conjunction with the resident and the resident’s responsible person, if there is one.
  • A list of contacts made or to be made by the assisted living facility with community resources. These contacts include, but are not limited to:
  • Social workers
  • Family members
  • Long Term Care Ombudsman
  • Clergy
  • Multipurpose Senior Services Programs
  • Others as appropriate to ensure proper services for the resident during the relocation process
  • Measures to be taken until relocation to protect the resident and the resident’s health and safety needs
  • Agreement to notify the Department when the relocation has occurred, including the resident’s new address, if known

Resident Request for Review of Relocation Order

The resident of an assisted living community who is the subject of a relocation order has the legal right to request a review of the proposed move. The resident submits the request for a review of the relocation order to the administration of the assisted living facility itself within three working days of receipt of the notification of the intended relocation. In turn, the assisted living facility is required to mail the request for review of the relocation directive to the state within two working days of its own receipt of the resident’s request for review.

In making a request for review, a resident is entitled to present materials and information in support of his or her position regarding the relocation at issue. Typically, the resident either opposes the relocation all together and desires to remain in the assisted living facility or disagrees with the proposed alternate facility.

A resident subject to state ordered relocation can also present medical evidence in regard to the health condition alleged to be the reason for the relocation. This assessment can be made by the resident’s own primary care physician. 

Bear in mind that there are instances in which an issue with the current facility itself underpins the health condition relocation. For example, an allegation has been made that a resident is or residents are not receiving appropriate care. In such a situation, there is no leeway in regard to a relocation somewhere else in order to protect the health and welfare of the resident (or residents) in question. 

Once more, these types of relocations are not commonplace. With that said, it is important for a resident of assisted living, a prospective resident, and family members to have a full understanding of different scenarios associated with this type of long-term care and how they are addressed.