Please, go with your gut and call 911

Nursing homes are interesting places.

They (by law and definition) have health care available 24 hours a day, and yet, sometimes it is not enough.

Sometimes, nursing home residents get sicker and need immediate emergency help from a hospital.

I have had more than one (probably 20) families tell me that when they expressed concern about their loved one needing to go from the nursing home to the hospital, they were told by some nursing home employee, the employee was not allowed to call 911 without the doctor’s permission… And even then, families are sometimes left feeling like they are not permitted to call 911 themselves. That some how, calling 911 will either (a) violate facility policy or (b) be something the family has to pay for – and won’t be covered by Medicare / Medicaid / Insurance etc.

I can’t give medical advice. I am not a health care provider.

I can however give general advice. and here it is – if you are worried your loved one needs help, and the nursing home isn’t moving fast enough, or the doctor responding – CALL 911 and get your loved one to the hospital.

Don’t wait.

Don’t ask permission.

Call – and call sooner rather than later.

Who cares about facility policy.

Who cares about making the nurse mad.

You know your loved one better than they do – you know when they are sick, sicker, when something is wrong and they need help. You have a cell phone – use it.

Please, go with your gut and call 911. Better to be safe than sorry.


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