When you are in a situation that requires you to place a loved one in a nursing home for care, the first thing on your mind is quality. You want to make sure that your loved one is well cared for and that they are comfortable and happy.
When you find a place that you like, there will be a large amount of paperwork that is required to place your loved one in their care. These forms, most of them standard care forms, allow the nursing facility to administer the necessary care to your loved one. Another portion of the paperwork will be concerning payment and insurance. However, mixed in all of these papers that you must sign will most likely be a nursing home arbitration agreement. You must understand this form before you sign.
Understanding A Nursing Home Arbitration Agreement
This document will seem meaningless. It will have wording that states if your loved one is injured in any manner while under the care of the nursing home, you must settle the case in front of a private arbitrator and not take the issue to court.
While this may seem harmless, is does have some issues that you should be aware of before you decide to agree to the terms.
• Costs. When you take a case up before a private arbitrator, you must pay for their services. While this cost is split between both parties, it can still cost several hundred dollars an hour to have an arbitrator hear your case. Whereas your tax dollars pay for a judge and jury to hear your case.
• Laws. An arbitrator does not necessarily have to be an attorney or a judge; they just have to be a certified arbitrator. This means that personal opinion and not the law can be interjected into their final decision. You will want to have the law on your side and not a persona opinion if your loved one is injured.
• Settlements. Many studies have shown that any settlement that comes out of an arbitration case is significantly lower than cases which are decided in a courtroom. You must take into consideration that the expenses associated with your loved ones injury are continue to grow, and you will need to make sure the settlement is enough to provide them with proper care.
Nursing homes cannot deny care to an individual if the nursing home arbitration agreement is not signed. It is voluntary, and you have the ability to say no and protect your rights.