I have seen the following situation happen more than one time:

Elderly patient is discharged from hospital and taken to a nursing home after 5:00pm. Arrives at nursing home, and staff is unprepared or not there.

No one to discuss paperwork or payment.

No RN on staff to evaluate patient or their condition.

No physician to examine patient prior to prescribing medication or reasonable restraints such as bed rails.

No one present to evaluate patient for fall risk, elopement risk etc.

Within 24 hours of “admission” (and I use that term lightly because the phrase “drop off” is better suited), the resident has fallen, been over medicated, mis-medicated, confused, tries to elope, chokes on food etc.

When you drop off a freshman at college, they have a planned 4-5 days for Orientation. Even parents have orientation.

When you drop off a loved one at a skilled nursing facility, there may be no introduction, orientation, explanation or evaluation. Here is your bed – and then you wait, hoping someone the next day will realize there is a new resident.

Be diligent. Make sure someone is there to receive your loved one – talk to the doctor, ask for a copy of their discharge and transfer summary along with their medication list – and HAND deliver it to the nursing home staff.

You don’t want the first 72 hours at a nursing home to be your loved one’s last 72 hours.

Lauren Ellerman
Lauren Ellerman

In 2011, Lauren Ellerman was named "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the Roanoke Bar Association for her work in the community. To speak with Lauren about your personal injury case, contact her at