Can your relative leave his or her nursing home for the holidays?

The holiday season can be a complicated time when you have a family member in a nursing home. This time of year focuses on getting together with family, but there are some barriers you may come across.

Medicaid disruptions are a primary concern when a nursing home resident leaves to see family. There are cases where a facility cannot guarantee full coverage during a leave of absence, which discourages families to get together the way they want to. If you would like your loved one to visit during the holidays, you should understand the nuances of Medicaid.

Medicaid coverage

Many Medicaid beneficiaries must stay in their facility due to their condition, but this does not mean that the people who are fit to leave will lose their benefits. According to the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center, Medicaid can cover up to eight days of therapeutic leave. As long as the facility has Medicaid-certified beds and has filled at least 95% of them, the facility should bill Medicaid for bed-hold charges.


If your loved one winds up visiting another place for a longer time than expected, you may run into an issue where Medicaid cannot help with payments. However, the nursing home must inform your loved one about its payment and bed reservation policies in advance. Any infringement on your relative’s rights can lead to administrative action.

You should not let a misconception ruin your family’s holiday season. Understanding elder law and communicating with your relative can make things easier to manage.

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