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older man in a hospital bed dropped off by assisted living and called granny dumping

Granny Dumping: What Is It and what to do?

Caring for an aging loved one can be challenging, and sometimes unexpected situations arise. Recently, I encountered a case where a client, let’s call her Elizabeth, was unexpectedly discharged from her rehab facility to the emergency room late on a Friday night. While the facility cited unmanaged pain as the reason, Elizabeth’s family had concerns that something else was at play. This is a classic granny dumping scenario.

It turns out, Elizabeth’s situation wasn’t uncommon. Some facilities, unfortunately, face financial pressures due to the varying Medicare reimbursement rates for rehab stays. While the initial reimbursement is high, it gradually decreases over time. This can incentivize some facilities to prioritize admitting new patients with higher initial payouts over continuing care for existing residents like Elizabeth.
Now, what can you do if your loved one finds themselves in a similar situation?

How To Handle Granny Dumping By A Rehab Facility:

Stay calm and gather information: When faced with an unexpected discharge, the first step is to stay calm and gather information. Contact the facility directly and speak to the admissions manager. Request a detailed explanation for the discharge and express your concerns. It’s crucial to keep notes during these conversations and follow up in writing.
Seek external support: Don’t hesitate to seek help from external resources. Contact the local ombudsman program within the Department of Elder Affairs. These dedicated individuals can advocate for your loved one’s rights and assist in navigating the situation. If necessary, consider consulting with an elder law attorney who can provide legal guidance and support.
Communicate with the medical team: It’s important to involve the medical professionals involved in your loved one’s care. The ER doctors can assess Elizabeth’s condition and determine if the facility’s reasoning was valid. If not, they can provide documentation to support her return to the facility.
Granny Dumping: What Is It And What To Do About It | Miller Elder Law Firm


For Caregivers Of Aging Loved Ones

Remember, you are not alone: Caring for an aging loved one can be overwhelming, and unexpected situations like this can add to the stress.  There are resources and support available to help you navigate these challenges. The elder law team of care coordinators and legal professionals have a comprehensive guide for resources you need in these situations. It’s comforting to know you have an advocate as you serve as one for your loved ones.
While Elizabeth’s case unfortunately highlighted a concerning practice, it also served as a reminder of the importance of advocacy and communication. By staying informed, seeking support, and working collaboratively with medical professionals, families can ensure the well-being of their loved ones during challenging healthcare transitions.
If you have any questions or have experienced similar situations, please feel free to contact our office at 352.379.1900. It’s by opening up these conversations that we can raise awareness, learn from each other, and ultimately ensure the best possible care for our aging loved ones.
Remember, knowledge and proactive steps can make a significant difference. Let’s work together to build a healthcare system that prioritizes the well-being of all, especially our most vulnerable individuals.
Together, let’s build a village where every corner echoes with laughter, not the chilling silence of neglect. Let’s make “granny dumping” a faded relic of the past. Let’s start the conversation.
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