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Wrongful Eviction from a Nursing Home

Getting evicted from a nursing home can be a traumatizing and even dangerous experience for some residents of skilled nursing facilities. Nursing home abuse attorney Tom Reuland knows what nursing homes can and can't do when trying to evict someone. This page summarizes some of the reasons for evicting someone from a nursing home and what you can do about it if the discharge is wrongful.

Federal Law

There are six common grounds that skilled nursing facilities use under federal law to discharge a resident. 

The Code of Federal Regulation empowers a nursing home to discharge nursing home residents, even when they don't want to leave or think that leaving is a bad idea. However, they must follow the law when doing so.


The law—specifically 42 C.F.R § 483.15(c)—says that a "facility must permit each resident to remain in the facility, and not transfer or discharge the resident from the facility unless" one or more of these six reasons exist: 

  1. The facility cannot meet the welfare and needs of the resident;

  2. The resident’s health improves so much that he or she no longer needs skilled nursing care anymore;

  3. The resident is a safety risk;

  4. The resident endangers the health of others;

  5. The resident isn't paying his or her bills that are owed to the facility;

  6. The facility is closing.

For a facility to make someone leave a nursing home involuntarily, it must take multiple steps to document the need to leave and the reasons for leaving. The facility also has strict notice requirements when kicking a resident out of a nursing home under nearly all circumstances. A nursing home resident should never be surprised by having to leave the home and find another place to live. They should know about the discharge well in advanced. 

If a facility fails to provide a valid ground for discharge, or if it fails to follow all steps required under law, then the discharge could be wrongful. Legal action against the facility can prevent the discharge and in many cases delay the discharge date to give residents more time to find a suitable and safe place to go next.

State Law

The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act provides four specific grounds to discharge a nursing home resident, even if that discharge is against the resident's wishes.

Most nursing homes in Illinois must follow the federal law introduced above. However, the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act provides added protections for nursing home residents to prevent a wrongful eviction. 

Illinois Law, including at 210 ILCS 45/3-401, says that a nursing home can discharge someone from their nursing home for:

  1. Medical reasons;

  2. Resident’s safety;

  3. Safety of others;

  4. Nonpayment of bills.

Some of these reasons sound similar to the grounds under federal law. However, many residents will benefit from a complete legal analysis by an experienced nursing home eviction lawyer. State law provides different requirements for what a nursing home must do and cannot do before forcing someone to leave. 

Act Fast
Deadlines to challenge a wrongful discharge move quickly and might come as a surprise.

Don't let a facility wrongfully discharge you or a loved one.

Strict deadlines dictate when and how someone can challenge a wrongful discharge from a nursing home. 

Nursing home residents might be surprised to learn about how fast they must act to challenge the grounds for being forced out of their nursing home. The law sets strict timelines that both nursing facilities and nursing home residents must follow to discharge someone involuntarily and against their will. If a nursing home resident is looking for help in challenging their eviction before it happens or appealing the discharge after they have already gone to a new facility, an experience attorney should assess what options are available. 

One of the most effective options often involves requesting a hearing with the Illinois Department of Public Health. Generally speaking, a resident must request a hearing within ten days of receiving a discharge notice. Then, an administrative law judge should hold a hearing within ten days. Next, the administrative law judge makes a decision within fourteen days of the request for the hearing. Once the decision is final, a resident has fifteen days to ask a circuit court judge to review the decision.

This timeline, however, is different if a resident is challenging an involuntary discharge after the discharge has happened. The resident might have up to ten days after discharge to request a hearing. The hearing should then take place within thirty days. 

If a resident or resident's representative misses one of the deadlines under the law, then their rights to challenge the discharge are likely going to be barred. It is wise to consult with an attorney if you have any questions about the process for challenging a wrongful discharge from a nursing home. 

Legal Action Can Help

Nursing homes have experienced legal counsel to protect them. So should you.  

Attorney Tom Reuland is an Illinois attorney who represents people living in nursing homes. His experience is rooted in the fundamental belief that nursing home residents must utilize as many legal protections as possible to promote a safe and healthy place to live. Wrongful discharge can be dangerous. He made this point clear when he taught a Continuing Legal Education course for the Illinois State Bar Association that directly addressed wrongful discharge and evictions from skilled nursing facilities. 

If you or a loved one are about to be wrongfully discharged from a nursing home, please contact our office as soon as possible to discuss how we can help. The deadlines to act are short. The sooner someone takes legal action--either the help pf the law office of Tom Reuland or another firm--the greater the likelihood that they will be able to utilize all of the legal protections available to them. 

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