Admitting a family member into a long term care facility (assisted living or nursing home) can be very emotional and stressful for a family. The admittance paperwork can often be many pages long and the pressure can be high to sign quickly to secure the family member a bed. Signing the paperwork to enter the agreement without having it reviewed by an elder law lawyer can spell trouble for the patients and their families. The following are the two big reasons to have an elder law lawyer review your nursing home or assisted living agreement before signing.
- Avoid being left holding the bag: It is common place for long term care facilities (assisted living and nursing homes) to place language in their agreements that make the family member helping to admit the patient into the facility financially responsible for the cost of care. If the patient fails to pay his bill, the facility can then sue the family member for any unpaid balance. An elder law lawyer can review the agreement and ensure that all the troubling language is removed from the agreement.
- Avoid being left without adequate recourse: it is also common place for long term care facilities (assisted living and nursing homes) to put mandatory arbitration language in their agreements. If there is a dispute the facility, if for example the patient is injured while in the care of the facility, the patient could not sue in court, but instead could only enter arbitration. With arbitration, the usual rules of evidence that would be enforced in a court room are not enforced. Further, the arbitrator’s decision is often final whereas in a court room, a patient would have the right to appeal. Arbitrations are also confidential. Hence, a facility could engage in a pattern of bad conduct but due to the confidential nature of the arbitration claims, the public may never find out. Patient’s attorneys have also sited concerns that the arbitrators making the decisions often coming from backgrounds that are more sympathetic to the facilities than the patients. An elder law lawyer can review the agreement for arbitration clauses and can often assist with their removal.
For more information on nursing home and assisted living agreements, contact a Cleveland elder law lawyer.