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Did You Know?

Your Right to Leave a Long Term Care Facility

Residents are often illegally held in nursing homes or assisted living facilities against their will, without a judicial decision or legal process. CANHR has posted a new free guide for long-term care consumers, “Your Right to Leave,” a guide to the rights of long-term care consumers to be free from false imprisonment. “Your Right to Leave” explains how and why this happens, details residents’ rights to be free from forced placement, and gives guidance on remedies.
All adults have the right to move freely and choose where they want to live and whether or not to receive health care services. When someone goes to a long term care facility, they do not leave their rights at the door. They have every right not to be imprisoned, even if someone like a doctor or a facility administrator believes the resident does not have the capacity to make sound decisions. There is only one person who can restrict a resident’s right to leave a long term care facility: a court-appointed conservator acting with specific authority to place the resident in a locked facility against the resident’s will. See California Probate Code Section 2356.5.


There are many options for dealing with a facility that is denying a resident’s right to leave, including: speaking with facility staff and management; contacting state licensing agencies; and walking out the door. For a discussion of these options, and additional information, see CANHR’s free consumer guide - Your Right to Leave.” If you have questions about the guide, or need more help, please call CANHR.

Page Last Modified: August 24, 2015