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Study Shows Fault with Nursing Home Admission Agreements

The move to a nursing home is a stressful, anxious time for not only the resident but their family as well. That is why so many people find themselves signing nursing home contracts without properly reviewing them. However, the document is not one of routine and many admission agreements are harmful and have provisions that violate the law. The federal Nursing Home Reform Law provides many protections for residents and families, and if the residents are aware, they can take action to obtain the quality of care that residents deserve. The nursing home legislation provides that nursing homes must provide necessary care in as homelike an environment as possible. A resident’s preferences should be followed whenever practicable. A recent nursing home study has shown that admission agreements often contain provisions that conflict with the law and are not fair to residents or their families. The study found six problems with admission agreements:
 The agreement lowers standard of care, and accepts certain injuries as almost inevitable. However the Nursing Home Reform Act requires a nursing home to provide care necessary for a resident to reach “the highest practicable level of functioning.”
 The agreement limits the resident’s right to receive visits from family. However, a nursing home resident has the right to be visited by a family member at any time of the day or night.
 The agreement waives or limits the nursing home’s responsibility. It is never in a resident’s interests to waive or reduce any responsibility.
 The agreement requires arbitration of disputes or claims. However, a jury generally is better than an arbitrator in understanding a resident’s point of view. Therefore you should never give up the right to a jury trial.
 The agreement authorizes eviction for improper reasons. The Nursing Home Reform Law specifically requires a nursing home to provide appropriate care for resident with dementia and eviction is allowed for only six specified reasons.
 The agreement requires resident’s family member or friend to become financially liable for nursing home expenses. The Nursing Home Reform Law prohibits a nursing home from requiring anyone to become financially responsible for a resident’s nursing home expenses.
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