I frequently meet with families of a patient in a nursing home who tell me they were very worried about the care that their loved one was receiving. They voiced concern to the staff about their loved one's decline. They would ask to have their father/mother moved to the hospital so they could get the care they needed. Frequently, in response, the families concerns and requests fell on deaf hears, and they were denied their requests to move the patient to a hospital.
Often, the family becomes worried the patient has an infection, be it urinary tract, pneumonia, or wound, that is getting worse, and the facility does not seem to be doing anything to address the worsening condition. Sometimes, a family member becomes worried that a patient suffered a stroke. Regardless of the cause, ultimately, the patient gets sick enough that even the most neglectful facility has no alternative but to transfer the patient to a hospital for further care. By then, it is often too late.
There is a simple and immediate thing any family member can do to get their loved one to the hospital: call 9-1-1. Yes, you can do that. You have the right to call 9-1-1 and say your family member is sick and needs to go to the hospital. Paramedics will respond to the nursing home and evaluate your loved one. They will follow your wishes to have him or her taken to the hospital for an evaluation and further care.
Importantly, there is nothing a nursing home and their administration can do to prevent or interfere with this process. They may try to tell you that it is against the nursing facilities policy for you to call 9-1-1. This is nonsense. Their policies don't restrict you in the least. Ignore any statement like this and pick up the phone.
The only caveat to this is that Medicare or Medicaid determines the call a non-emergency, they may not pay for the transportation. But, you know your loved one better than anyone else, and if you think they need to be transferred, you are very likely right.
Believe it or not, paramedics get these calls all the time, and they frequently respond to nursing homes because a patient has become gravely ill. They know the drill, and they are ready and willing to rescue your family member from a facility to get them the care they need.
The bottom line is if you are concerned about the care your loved one is getting in a nursing home, call 9-1-1 and get them out of there before it is too late.