If you or your loved one is going into a nursing home, you will be presented with admissions papers upon making the decision to move in. These paper should be reviewed by nursing home lawyers before you sign.
Nursing homes take on a tremendous amount of responsibility to provide care to patients, and it is important for those who will become residents- and their families- to know what to expect and what their rights are. The terms of an admissions contract can make a substantial difference in the nursing home’s obligations, so the paperwork should be carefully reviewed.
Nursing home lawyers at Unsworth Law understand the special needs of nursing home residents and we can provide the representation and advice you need when you make the decision that it is time for you or your loved one to move into a nursing care facility. Contact us before you sign any papers to learn more about how we can help.
The Importance of Having Nursing Home Lawyers Review Admissions Paperwork
Signing forms when you or a loved one moves into a nursing home can be complicated. You are already facing a stressful life transition and now you are being asked to look through a large stack of forms with fine print and put your signature on those forms. Before you sign, have nursing home lawyers review the paperwork to look for red flags and to make sure your rights are being adequately protected.
Some of the different things to be on the lookout for when reviewing nursing home admissions paperwork include:
- An arbitration clause: Kaiser Health reported that arbitration clauses have become increasingly common in nursing home admissions paperwork, although the clauses are often overlooked. Nursing home arbitration clauses prevent lawsuits in the event that nursing home abuse happens. This can abridge the rights of a nursing home patient to get the full compensation a jury might have awarded if he was able to make his case in court. The threat of a civil lawsuit is also an important deterrent to abuse, which is removed when the nursing home paperwork contains an arbitration clause.
- A responsible party: Nursing homes are not allowed to try to force family members of a resident to become responsible for nursing home bills. However, some nursing home admissions paperwork contains a responsible party clause. If you sign paperwork that contains this clause, you could end up agreeing to guarantee payment of nursing home costs. Nursing home bills are very expensive and making an agreement to be a responsible party could be a major financial mistake.
- Private pay clauses: Nursing homes cannot require Medicare or Medicaid recipients to provide private payment for nursing homes. Nursing homes are also not supposed to require residents to affirm that they are not eligible for coverage through Medicaid or through Medicaid.
- Waiver of rights: Some nursing home agreements will contain provisions waiving the nursing home’s liability for stolen or lost personal items. Others require residents or their families to sign a waiver absolving nursing homes of responsibilities for patient healthcare. Nursing homes cannot and should not waive this responsibility and you should not sign a contract that contains a waiver of rights.
- Eviction procedures. Nursing homes are not allowed to evict residents except for certain designated reasons. For example, nursing homes can evict residents if they are unable to meet the particular needs of the patient, or if the presence of the resident is endangering others. Nonpayment may be justification for eviction under some circumstances, and the improvement in the health of the resident could also be grounds for eviction. It is important to make sure you understand what grounds for eviction are stated in the admissions paperwork so you will know when or if you or your family member could be forced to leave the nursing home.
With the help of nursing home lawyers, you can ensure that the paperwork does not contain provisions that adversely affect your rights or that are illegal under the law. You can protect yourself or your loved one who is entering a nursing home and ensure that the facility will provide appropriate care.
How Nursing Home Lawyers Can Help You
Nursing homes should provide comfort, care, and dignity to vulnerable seniors. With the help of nursing home lawyers, you can understand exactly what a nursing home is offering and what your rights are if the nursing home fails to fulfill its obligations. To get the help you need to make informed choices, contact Unsworth Law in Essex Junction today. You can give us a call at (802) 879-7133 or contact us online to get help now.