Specialized Information for:

Long-Term Care ConsumersFamily MembersAdvocates

Involuntary Transfer or Discharge from a Nursing Home

The threat of transfer or discharge from a nursing home can be both frightening and stressful for residents and their families. Too often, a facility may respond to resident’s difficulties or increasing need for care or repeated questions or complaints from family members by attempting to transfer or discharge a resident.

The Nursing Home Reform Law of 1987 prohibits nursing homes from transferring or discharging a resident unless it can establish one of the permissible reasons for transfer/discharge to exist.

Permissible reasons for transfer/discharge to exist:

  • the nursing home cannot provide adequate care for the resident;
  • the resident's health has improved to the point that he or she no longer needs nursing home care;
  • safety of individuals in the facility is endangered;
  • the resident has failed to pay for care;
  • or the facility ceases to operate.

Many of the permissible reasons for transfer or discharge can be addressed through assessment and care planning, making transfer or discharge unnecessary.

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If a resident is to be transferred or discharged, the facility must provide adequate notice to the resident and the resident's family member, guardian, or legal representative, in writing, at least 30 days in advance.

Adequate notice includes:

  •  the reason for the transfer or discharge;
  • the specific location to which the resident will be moved;
  • the date of transfer or discharge;
  • information about the right to appeal the decision to discharge the resident;
  • and contact information for the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman.

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Fact Sheets & Resources

Resources for Consumers



Your Discharge Planning Checklist (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services)





Consumer Voice, in coordination with the Utah Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman, created resources to assist long-term care providers, ombudsmen, consumers, and other stakeholders in comprehending federal and state requirements around transfer and discharge rights and responsibilities.