In the movies, when an adult with a functional disability is unable to look after themselves, social services will step in and put them in a nursing home. In reality, that’s not always the case. These sorts of decisions are much more complicated. As difficult as it might be for you to imagine, there may come a time when you no longer have the capacity to take care of yourself. Read on to learn about how social services can force someone into a nursing home and what steps you can take now to keep this from happening if the need arises
Can Social Services Force Someone Into A Nursing Home?
Social services can force someone into a nursing home if they feel that the person is not able to care for themselves properly. This can happen if the person has a mental illness or dementia, for example. If the person is deemed to be a danger to themselves or others, then social services may have no choice but to intervene.
When Can Social Services Force Someone Into A Nursing Home?
- Social services can force someone into a nursing home if they are unable to take care of themselves or make decisions for themselves.
- In these cases, a government-appointed representative will step in on behalf of the individual and be able to authorize the move to a nursing home.
- In the U.S., this is known as a “guardian” or an “appointment of a guardian.” If the individual is unable to consent to guardianship, it will be necessary for the court to appoint a guardian.
- In order to do so, the court will have to be convinced that there is a need for such an appointment.
How Can Social Services Force Someone Into A Nursing Home?
Fraudulent Advance Care Planning
The most common way to get someone into a nursing home is to have them sign an Advance Care Planning (ACP) document. This is a document where the individual agrees to be put in a nursing home when they become disabled under the assumption they would not be able to take care of themselves. AARP reports that ACP is the most fraudulent way to get someone into a nursing home. ACP has been called “attorney-driven” and has been linked to the high cost of nursing home care. By having someone sign this document, the nursing home will be able to recoup the cost of care through Medicare, regardless of the individual’s true ability to pay for services.
Lack of Support for Independent Living
Another way social services can get someone into a nursing home is by refusing to provide assistance to enable the person to remain independent. The most common form of support is an in-home caregiver. For example, a person might lose the ability to drive due to age-related cognitive impairment. This may cause the person to miss out on essential appointments, such as medical and dental visits. The person may also lose the ability to travel to work, causing them to lose their job. If the person depends on a vehicle to make these trips, they may be forced to miss appointments and lose their job. If they can’t find a new job or get public transportation, they may lose their housing. With no place to go, they may be forced into a nursing home.
Confusion Caused by Constant Caregiver Shifts
A constant shift in the caregivers with whom someone lives can cause confusion that may result in an individual losing the capacity to make independent decisions. This could occur for two reasons: The individual is in constant fear of someone changing their way of doing things, or they lose the capacity to organize their life because there are someone new constantly making changes. For example, when a person lives with someone but is not their dependent, they are not covered by the protection of guardianship. This means that the caregiver can do anything they want to the person they are caring for, which leaves the individual open to exploitation and abuse. In addition, constant caregiver shifts may result in a loss of capacity to manage a person’s finances. This loss of capacity can result in a loss of housing, as it would make it difficult for the person to keep up with their rent payments.
Dementia Causing Loss of Decision-Making Capacity
Dementia can cause a person to lose the capacity to make decisions because they are not able to organize their thoughts and process information. If the person’s mental condition makes it impossible for them to understand the decision they are making, whether it’s about where to live or whom to make their health care agent, courts will have no choice but to place the person in a nursing home.
When A Person Is Incapacitated By Illness or Injury
In some cases, a person may be forced into a nursing home due to an injury or illness. Social services may try to force a person into a nursing home after they are hospitalized due to an injury or illness, or when they are released from the hospital if they have no place to go. When an accident or injury causes an individual to be incapacitated, they may lose the ability to make decisions and organize their life. In this case, the social services department may have the power to make decisions for the person and get them into a nursing home.
Finding That There Are No Other Housing Options
When all other options for housing have been exhausted, social services may force a person into a nursing home. This occurs most frequently when the person is homeless or has no place to live. In this situation, the social services department may force the person into a nursing home, even if they don’t want to go. When a person has no place to live, the social services department may get them into a nursing home temporarily until they can find some other housing option. In some cases, they may not be able to find any other option and will be forced to put the individual in a nursing home permanently.
When Isn’t Social Services Involved?
Social services will not get involved in all situations that result in a functional disability. If a person is dependent on others for help but can still make decisions for themselves, they are considered to have a functional disability. For example, if a parent is responsible for taking care of a child with special needs, they may not have the ability to work and make ends meet without government assistance. This is referred to as a situational disability. If this is the case, social services will provide the parent with financial assistance. At the same time, the parent may also be eligible for social services for the child. In situations like these, the government will step in to help those who need it. This does not include putting the parent in a nursing home.
How To Avoid Being Forced Into A Nursing Home?
- If you have a physical or mental condition that makes it difficult for you to complete tasks like grocery shopping or paying your bills, it’s important to seek out assistance as soon as possible.
- In most cases, your loved ones will want to help. If you are open to assistance, they will likely be more than happy to provide it.
- However, if you are unable to accept help, this could lead to an inability to pay your bills and, eventually, a visit from social services.
- If this happens, it’s important that you have the facts straight. It’s possible that you could be pushed toward a nursing home without having been fully evaluated for other options.
- With this in mind, it’s important to know that it’s possible to refuse help from social services. At the same time, it’s important to acknowledge that this may come at a price.
- If you are unable to take care of yourself, you may be at risk of being forced into a nursing home.
Even if you are able to take care of yourself now, it’s important that you keep in mind the future. Although it’s impossible to know when a medical condition will affect your ability to look after yourself, it’s important to keep your long-term goals in mind. If you have a functional disability, it’s important to understand that you can refuse help from social services.