In nursing homes all across America, there are a lot of people who do not belong and would do anything to leave. It could probably happen to you, in fact.

Most people want to live in their communities for as long as they can, even and especially as they age or struggle with an injury. And in 2000, the Supreme Court decided they have that right. In theory, no one should have to stay in a nursing home if they can live elsewhere and would like to do so. That means they should be able to take advantage of state and federal programs to help them live on their own, with family, or in a group home.

But the reality is, people can end up stuck in a nursing home for much longer than they need or want to be there. Many people who are injured or aging don’t have enough money for at-home services. And in some cases, they don’t have family willing and able to sign them out. In other words, they have to stay because it’s unclear where else they would go.