How to Commit the Elderly to a Nursing Home Through the Court

By Jennifer Metz

Committing the elderly to a nursing home must be done legally through the local court systems, unless the elderly patient agrees to move into the home. There are a few steps that must be taken in order to admit your elderly relative, friend or ward to a nursing home where their needs can be attended to around the clock. Court approval, and a judge's signature, is ultimately what one will need in order to commit the elderly to a nursing home without their consent.

Call your local bar association and ask for an attorney referral. Be sure to ask for one who specializes in family law, guardianship, and even probate matters. These are tricky areas of law and finding an attorney who practices in these areas will help you in winning your case. Also, make sure the attorney is accustomed to practicing locally and is familiar with the laws of your local court systems.

Interview the attorney. Be honest and up front in what you want to gain from these court proceedings. Ask the attorney what his fees, are, if there is a retainer amount required up front, and what the filing fees will be with the court system in order to open a case and be heard in front of a judge. Find out at this point what the timeline is. If you feel the elderly person is at risk, ask about emergency proceedings, which can be held in court almost immediately.

Research the nursing home you want to send your elderly relative or friend to. Find out the costs involved, and inquire about insurance coverage. You will want this information prior to meeting with the judge as finances will need to be discussed.

Meet with the elderly person's doctor. Ask the doctor to write a letter supporting the fact that this elderly person should be in a nursing home, where they can receive 24-hour care. You will need this document for your court hearing, so contact the doctor immediately. They are busy and can often take several days, or even weeks, to get you what you need.

Attend the court hearing. Arrive 15 minutes early, in business attire. Judges frown upon those who do not respect the court by arriving on time and in proper dress. Have all your paperwork ready to prove your case as to why this elderly person should be committed to a nursing home.

About the Author

Jennifer Metz has been a writer since 2002, with work appearing in several online publications and local newspapers. She works as a regional manager for several hotels. Metz studied education and mathematics at Kent State University.

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