Ask an Expert: Should I Move Mom from the Facility?


Ask an Expert: Should I Move Mom from the Facility?

Dear Denise,

My mom’s facility called this morning. The have a confirmed case of coronavirus. Should I move my mom out?


Such a heartbreaking situation for both of you. While each situation is different and you must make a decision that’s right for your family, I can offer some questions to consider.

  • If appropriate, ask your mom about her wishes. How will she feel leaving the other residents? How does she feel about moving? If it’s not possible to have this conversation with your mom, consider what you know her wishes are. You know her best; what would she want?

  • How well will your mom be able to manage a move? Consider her physical, emotional and mental state as you consider how well she will manage a change, even a change you consider to be a good one.

  • The facility will severely limit visitors, if it hasn’t already. How will you feel about not being able to see your mom?

  • How comfortable are with the facility and its ability to manage an outbreak? Staffing could be a concern as staff members may also become infected and not be able to work. Ask the facility management:

    • How they plan to maintain staffing levels to provide care,

    • If they will move any residents out of the facility to minimize exposure and

    • How you can stay in touch with your mom and the staff to ensure your mom is okay.

How the facility answers these questions will help determine your comfort level in your mom remaining at the facility. (Read: Now’s the Time for Effective Conversations.)

  • If you are considering a move to another facility, will another facility accept your mom? Many facilities are no longer accepting residents which may mean that moving her to another facility is not an option.

  • If you move your mom to your home, will you be able to isolate her to avoid the spread of the virus just in case she’s asymptomatic? If she does develop symptoms, will you feel comfortable caring for her at home?

  • How will you ensure your mom stays engaged in activities and that you get regular breaks for your own time?

  • Will your home accommodate your mom’s care needs? Consider the care she needs and the layout of the home, such as her bedroom’s proximity to the bathroom for bathing or showering.

  • What equipment will you need in your home to provide care? Will you be able to have equipment delivered to your home?

  • How comfortable are you in providing care in your home?

  • Will a home care agency be available to provide help at home? How comfortable are you in having home care professionals in your home? Some families are choosing not to have professionals in the home to minimize the risk of infection.

  • What support and supplies do you need in order to provide care at home? How can you ensure that you will have access to these supplies and support for as long as you need them?

  • To be on the safe side, consider the move home permanent and that transferring back to a facility may not be an option. Will you feel comfortable providing care at home until your mom’s death?

Finally and most important: Which decision helps you sleep at night? These decisions are really about peace of mind. What will you give you peace of mind?

Please know we’re here to support your decision, whatever you decide.

Have you experienced a similar situation? What tips would you add? Please share your experiences and ideas in our comments section, below.

Stumped by an on-going struggle? Searching for meaning in your journey? You’re not alone! Family caregivers ask Denise M. Brown for her insights and suggestions to their caregiving conundrums. Have a question for Denise? Just e-mail her. Denise will do her best to answer questions within 24 hours.

If you or your caree are in a crisis, we urge you to call a health care professional immediately for assistance. Denise only provides general insights about general situations. You should always consult your own lawyer, financial planner, health care professional and other professional advisors for advice specific to your situation.

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