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Be Very Careful When Signing Nursing Home Admission Contracts

When your loved one becomes a resident at a nursing home, your loved one or a family member who is serving as a power of attorney or guardian will be asked to sign a written contract with the nursing home. In general, the nursing home contracts spells out the resident's rights, the responsibilities of the nursing home, the resident's obligations to pay for services, and the procedures that will be followed in the event that there is a dispute over the nursing home's care.

Increasingly, nursing homes are inserting clauses into nursing home admission agreements that require a resident and/or the resident's family to give up their right to file a lawsuit against the nursing home if your loved one is the victim of neglect or abuse. These contracts may force the resident to pursue a legal claim through the "arbitration" process where the nursing home designates who will serve as the arbitrator. The nursing home admission contract may limit what types of damages the resident may pursue or what county the legal claim must be brought.

If you or a loved one are being asked to sign a nursing home admission agreement that has a mandatory arbitration clause or other limitations on your family's rights to pursue damages in the event of nursing home neglect or abuse, you need to ask yourself the following question: "Why is this nursing home so concerned about limiting its liability?" The nursing homes and nursing home chains that insist on arbitration clauses tend to be the nursing homes that provide substandard care.

Carefully review the terms and conditions of the nursing home admission agreement. If you have questions about whether a particular nursing home admission agreement may cause your family member to waive or relinquish his or her legal rights, call the Sweeney Law Firm for a free consultation to discuss the contract. We will explain the terms and conditions of the nursing home admission contract in plain English and will provide you or your family with free legal advice and guidance as to whether you may be waiving your legal rights by signing the agreement.