Avoiding Liability to Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities and Other Issues
Admission Agreements and Financial Liability
On entering a nursing home, assisted living facility, or other long term care facility, you or a loved one will be asked to sign an admission agreement. While the facility may make light of this task, an admission agreement is a complex legal document, and signing without legal advice can put you and your family at risk.
In signing an admission agreement as “responsible party,” a child (or other loved one) may not realize that in some cases he/she is agreeing to pay long term care costs for the resident and may face suit if the facility isn’t paid. In addition, by signing an admission agreement you may be surrendering rights to do Medicaid planning that could save money and would be wholly legal and above board. However, these detriments may be disguised by technical and confusing language especially if the facility presents the agreement for signature during the difficult process of entering long term care.
We can review your admission agreement and negotiate to get rid of onerous terms. If you take away only one message from this website it should be never sign a legal document like an admission agreement unless a lawyer reviews it first!
If you are sued by a facility, we can defend against the lawsuit on grounds such as equitable defenses, federal law, and New Jersey’s “Nursing Home Bill of Rights.” Nevertheless, do yourself a favor and let us advise you on admission documents before you sign anything.
Care and Access Issues
We can advocate for your family if issues with a facility arise. For instance, you may feel your loved one is being treated inappropriately, neglected, abused, not being given the care he/she needs, or even undergoing improper “chemical restraints”– facilities using medication inappropriately to subdue unruly dementia patients. You may feel that a facility is unfairly restricting your access to your loved one. Lawyers may cut through emotions and conflicts to help parties reach a solution they couldn’t achieve on their own. Occasionally, however, there are few alternatives to a lawsuit.
Interior photo: Somerset hills pastoral scene by Lawrence Friedman.