Beware of Signing a Nursing A Home Agreement

By Carmine Perri

iStock_000016746886SmallImagine yourself in this situation: As a favor, you agree to help your spouse’s parent get settled into a nursing home.

If you’re like most people, you’d be emotionally stressed and feeling a bit guilty. Not exactly the best mindset for absorbing complex information nor for making legally-binding decisions.

But that’s exactly what some nursing home admission coordinators encourage people to do when they ask them to sign an admissions agreement while they’re at the nursing home for the first time.

This often ends up being a painful mistake. If you don’t completely understand all the content of the agreement before signing it, you could end-up being sued and held financially responsible for expenses incurred for your loved one’s care.

Here’s a scenario I have heard from several clients on whose behalf I have advocated after they’ve been forced into nursing home litigation:

Soon after arriving at the nursing home my clients’ loved ones get brought to their rooms.

    • Meanwhile, my clients were ushered into the admissions office where they sat across the desk from the admissions coordinator who has a stack of admissions documents.
    • This is unnerving for my clients because most often they did not expect to have to deal with any paperwork and especially did not expect to be asked to sign an admissions agreement.
    • The coordinator typically reviews part of the paperwork, including a section which states that signing as the Responsible Party only means that my clients would be emergency contacts. Several of my clients often have been explicitly told by the admissions coordinator not to worry about being held personally liable if a debt would ever be owed to the facility for the loved one’s care.
    • Unfortunately, the section of the paperwork that reserves the nursing home’s right to sue the Responsible Party often is neither discussed nor called-out.
    • After the nursing home resident for whom my client signed for as Responsible Party dies owing money, my clients are served with a lawsuit by the nursing facility for the outstanding debt which can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
    • Fighting the lawsuit often involves lengthy litigation and a good deal of stress for the clients I represent – – regardless of the outcome.

The bottom line?

Don’t sign an admissions agreement without completely understanding it. Avoid signing documents while at the nursing facility; there is no requirement for you to sign them on the spot. Take it home and review it carefully.  

Remember, these documents are written to protect the interests of the nursing home.

If you’re unclear about any liabilities you may incur by signing as a Responsible Party, call us right away at (860) 236-7673.

To learn more, watch this video What You Should Know Before Signing a Nursing Home Agreement.

Related Posts:

A Good Reason NOT to Sign a Nursing Home Agreement for a Loved One While You’re at the Nursing Home
Nursing Home Resident Rights: Know Them, Stand Up for Them
The One Thing You Should Know About Your Stay in a Nursing Home: Money Follows the Person
The One Thing You Should Know About Nursing Home Evictions

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