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Effective Strategies for Nursing Home Closure and Resident Relocation: A Guide by SMK Medical

Effective Strategies for Nursing Home Closure and Resident Relocation: A Guide by SMK Medical

Posted on March 6th, 2024


The decision to close a nursing facility is always challenging. It involves detailed planning, careful execution, and a deep commitment to the well-being of residents, their families, and the facility staff. Recognizing the complexities involved, CMS has set guidelines to ensure facility closures are handled with the utmost care and consideration for the affected residents and staff. CMS has two F tags that nursing home executives should review before closing or deciding to close. F-tags F845 and F846 outline essential requirements for nursing homes undergoing closure.


Understanding the Closure Process

CMS requires that facility closures be written out as a detailed plan that addresses the operational aspects of closing and the human element involved in transitioning residents to new environments. It is crucial to have a structured approach to minimize stress and ensure the continuity of care for residents.


Preparing Patients for Transfer or Discharge

Effective communication is the cornerstone of a smooth transition. Facilities must provide residents, guardians, and legal representatives with comprehensive information on relocation options, enabling informed decisions about future care settings. The preparation and orientation for both voluntary and involuntary transfers are vital, as is ensuring the safe transport of residents. Moreover, carefully transferring belongings and patient care records, including the Minimum Data Set and discharge assessments, is non-negotiable. Facilities must also designate a storage location for medical records not immediately transferred, ensuring these documents are accessible when needed.


Equipping the Facility and Staff

Managing daily operations and closure activities falls on the NHA, which ensures continuity during the transition. Key steps include:

  • Signing the official written notification of the closure by the facility administrator and providing that closure plan to the state agency, the regional CMS team, the local ombudsman, the facility staff, and the facility residents and their families. 
  • Maintaining adequate staffing levels to meet the needs of residents during the closure process. At no time can the care suffer because of staffing. 
  • Securing supplemental funding for operations, as necessary. The admin is responsible to ensure care delivery does not stop during a closure. 
  • Continuation of staff salaries, vendor and contractor payments to avoid disruptions.
  • Ongoing management and reporting of residents' personal funds, ensuring transparency and accountability.
  • Addressing the future of licensed beds and associated CMS certification numbers (CCN), including the voluntary termination of CCNs as required.

For nursing homes, acknowledging and adhering to the guidance provided in CMS document S&C 13-50-NH is essential for a compliant and respectful closure process.


SMK Medical: Your Partner in Facility Closure

At SMK Medical, we understand the challenges involved in closing a facility. Our team of experts is equipped to guide nursing homes through the closure process, ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements and a focus on the well-being of all stakeholders. Our experience assisting over ten facilities close gracefully, without additional citations, positions us as a valuable resource for nursing homes facing closure.


If your facility is considering closure or is in the process of closing, you do not have to navigate this complex journey alone. SMK Medical provides support, expertise, and compassion to ensure a smooth transition for residents and staff.


Let Us Help You Close with Grace

For guidance on facility closure planning, preparation for patient transfers, and staff orientation, contact SMK Medical today. Our team is ready to assist your facility in closing with grace, dignity, and compliance, ensuring the best outcomes for everyone involved.

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