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Patient Dumping Case Yields Victory for Mother and Son — and All Nursing Facility Residents

A ruling that patient dumping broke state and federal laws could mean wider protection from eviction for nursing facility residents.


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Gloria and Aubrey Jones

Gloria Single won a landmark legal victory against the illegal practice of patient dumping, but she didn’t live to see that victory. Instead, her son Aubrey Jones carried the case on after his mother’s death because, as he puts it, “That’s what Mom would have done.”

A ruling last January in the case, in which Gloria and her son were represented by AARP Foundation and BraunHagey & Borden LLP, found that Gloria’s nursing facility had violated both California state and federal laws by refusing to let her come back to the place she called home after an evaluation at a local hospital. The ruling reinforces the legal protection nursing facility residents across the country have against such evictions.

Gloria’s story is one of family, of strong relationships, of love for whatever place we come to call our home. You only have to talk to Aubrey for a few minutes to know how much he treasured her and the care he and her brothers got from her well into their adulthood — and how difficult it was to see her lose so much in her final days.

A Depth of Commitment 

Gloria worked hard to raise her three boys in the foothills of northern California. “She was a very loving, caring person,” says Jones. “My brothers and I always came first.”

Widowed in her late 40s, Gloria found love a second time with Bill, a family friend. Aubrey remembers Bill being a positive influence in their lives, helping cut trees and taking them fishing. And when Aubrey’s youngest brother, Kelly, struggled with a drug problem, Gloria was the literal moving force that took them to a new home in Idaho as Kelly had wanted, to get him away from the temptations. It worked.

Given that depth of commitment, it was only natural that a number of years on, when financial strain became a problem for Gloria and Bill, Aubrey and his wife, Molly, moved them into their home in Sacramento. “At that point, though, Mom’s health was really struggling,” Aubrey says. “She’d been a smoker; she couldn’t really get around, she needed to be on oxygen.” More importantly, he says, Gloria and Bill wanted their own place.

Aubrey found Pioneer House in the community, and Bill and Gloria moved to independent living there. After a while, Bill’s health took a turn, and he was moved to skilled nursing within the same Pioneer House building. Eventually, Gloria moved to skilled nursing as well.

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Gloria and Bill in happier times.

“Maybe This Is Not Our Fault”

But Gloria, who was 82 and had dementia, would often become agitated, and Aubrey would have to go calm her down. After one incident when Gloria allegedly threw plastic cutlery, Pioneer House called emergency personnel to take her to hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.

After an examination, Gloria was cleared by the hospital to return to her facility. It was then that Aubrey learned that Pioneer House would not be taking Gloria back. Bill was, of course, still there, and Gloria’s angst was apparent to Aubrey. “She wants to be by Bill,” he says, remembering the moment. “She wants to be there.”

Fighting For You in the Courts

AARP Foundation Litigation ensures that older adults have a voice and proper representation in the legal system.



At first, Aubrey didn’t fight the decision. “I just thought, this is a private place. They can do what they want.” Aubrey and a patient advocate tried to find another home for Gloria with little success. Then Aubrey began researching what else could be done to help his mother, and contacted California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, a nonprofit that fights for the rights of long-term care residents. The advocates told Aubrey that he could go to the state and appeal to get Gloria back to Pioneer House. “It was then that I finally started thinking maybe this is not our fault,” he says.

Aubrey represented his mother himself in the administrative hearing and won — but the facility refused to readmit Gloria. With the help of AARP Foundation and BraunHagey & Borden, Aubrey sued Pioneer House and its parent company in California state court in Sacramento.

“She Would Have Fought for This”

Meanwhile, with nowhere else to go, Gloria remained in the hospital from May to August of 2017. During that time, her health declined, her memory began to deteriorate, and she lost the ability to walk. Ultimately, Aubrey was able to place his mother at Stollwood nursing facility, while Bill remained at Pioneer House.

They never saw each other again. Bill died in June 2018, and Gloria in April 2019.

“She deserved so much better,” says Aubrey. “It's sad that my mom and my stepfather had to finish their lives not being with each other. It’s sad that they weren't together at the end when they could have made life much better for each other.”

At the same time, he says, he hopes the legal action will help others in the future. “I know that she would have fought for this. That’s the perseverance she instilled in us.” 

Tips on how to prevent “Resident Dumping”.

Read more stories about how our programs have helped people find hope, and about the volunteers who give so much of themselves to help others. 


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