How to Leave a Nursing Home and Return Home

Hook Law News | Apr 12, 2022 | Emily A. Martin

As seniors age, the likelihood that they will need long-term care in a nursing home increases. However, the reality is that most people do not want to live out the remainder of their lives in a nursing home, away from friends and family and a house that they may have lived in for decades. Although it is not very common, some seniors may be able to move back home or into a new home in the community and out of the nursing home. Below are some tips for seniors and their families when considering a move out of a nursing home.

If you want to move out of your nursing home, the first step is to communicate this to your family and the facility. Have a family meeting to explain what your wishes are. Talk to the social worker who works for your facility and notify them that you would like to move back into the community. You can also contact your local long-term care ombudsman. Ombudsmen can help provide support for long-term care residents who have problems or questions regarding their care. You can find your local ombudsman at

When deciding whether you should move out of a nursing home, there are many different issues that should be taken into consideration. For example, if you live in a nursing home, you likely need some type of care. Who is going to be providing this case, and will you be able to afford it? Are you eligible for Medicaid benefits that could provide assistance with home healthcare providers? Another thing to think about is whether your house is set up to meet your physical needs. You may want to consider installing a wheelchair ramp, stair lift, and grab bars in the bathrooms. No one wants to move back home only to injure themselves in a fall or other accident in the home. Also, you might want to think about who is going to drive you to and from doctor’s appointments and other appointments if you are unable to drive yourself.

Money Follows the Person is a federal program which 34 states have adopted (although Virginia has not adopted it). It is designed to make it easier for nursing home residents receiving Medicaid to transition out of the nursing home. The program provides personal and financial support to help eligible residents live on their own, including paying for a security deposit, moving expenses, and furniture. It can also assist with hiring personal care assistance, making modifications to a house, and respite care for caregivers. The benefits vary depending on the state. In order to qualify, the resident must have lived in a Medicaid-funded nursing home for at least 60 days and must be eligible for Medicaid. The resident must also require a nursing home level of care.

Although it may seem impossible to transition out of a nursing home once you are there, certain options may be available to you depending on your unique situation and your state’s laws. However, it is important to make sure that you have a plan in place to avoid problems and even injuries after you move back into the community.


Hook Law Center: Jolene, what can you tell us about the gorilla who is addicted to smartphones?

Jolene: This is an interesting situation. Amare, a teenage gorilla at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago is obsessed with visitors’ smartphones, which he views through a glass partition. Officials at the zoo have had to step in after the distraction led to behavioral issues, including an incident recently in which Amare didn’t notice when another male gorilla rushed him in a show of aggression, which is common among young male gorillas. The staff has put up a rope to keep visitors away from the glass partition and has even had to intervene when needed. It seems teenagers of many species are now distracted by their smartphones!

Emily A. Martin

Attorney, Shareholder
757-399-7506 | 252-722-2890
[email protected]

Emily A. Martin is a Shareholder of Hook Law practicing in the areas of elder law, estate and trust administration, estate planning, asset protection planning, litigation and dispute resolution, guardianship and conservatorship, long-term care planning, special needs planning and financial planning. To date, Ms. Martin has overseen over 100 guardianship and conservatorship matters. In addition to being admitted to the Virginia State Bar and North Carolina State Bar, she is licensed to practice before the Department of Veterans Affairs. Ms. Martin is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and Virginia Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. She is a graduate of the University of Mary Washington and Regent University School of Law. Prior to joining the firm in 2018, Emily worked as an estate planning and elder law attorney in Virginia Beach for several years.

Practice Areas

  • Elder Law
  • Estate & Trust Administration
  • Estate Planning
  • Asset Protection Planning
  • Guardianship & Conservatorship
  • Long-Term Care Planning
  • Special Needs Planning
  • Financial Planning
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