The Discharge Process

Families often call us when their loved one is in a nursing home for rehabilitation services such as physical or occupational therapies. They have many questions about the discharge process and are concerned for the transition back home.

The process often starts during a hospital stay when a team of medical professionals suggest a move to a skilled nursing facility to receive rehabilitation services prior to returning to their home. These stays can range in time depending on the health reasons for the hospital stay and on the progress the patient is making with therapy. The discharge process can be stressful so understanding the rules can make for a better transition.

What notification is required?

When it’s time to be “discharged” you must receive a Notice of Medicare Non-Coverage (NOMNC) notifying you of when your Medicare covered services will end. This notice must be delivered at least two calendar days before Medicare covered services end or the second to last day of service if care is not being provided daily. In a skilled nursing facility this notice is typically provided by the social worker. The social worker should explain this document and inform you of your right to appeal Medicare’s decision.

Typically, when someone is being discharged from rehabilitation services, the facility will begin working on discharge back to their home. This can be a stressful time for family members scrambling to take care of their loved ones at home. However, this is not the only option once you receive the discharge notice.

What is a Safe Discharge?

A skilled nursing facility, hospital, and any inpatient rehabilitation unit must provide their patients with a safe discharge. If a patient’s needs are not able to be met safely in their home, then it is not a safe discharge. A patient and their family have the right to request a long-term care bed in any skilled nursing facility. If the facility does not have any long-term care beds to offer the patient, they still must provide a safe discharge. In this case it would be transferring the patient to another skilled nursing facility that does have a long-term care bed. A facility cannot simply discharge a patient home once services are no longer being paid for by Medicare.

At Hurley Elder Care Law, our experienced care coordinators work tirelessly to help arrange safe discharges for our clients. This extra level of support for our clients is one of the many unique services our team offers to give our clients and their families peace of mind. Call us at 404-843-0121 to find out how we can assist you.

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