When you help move one of your parents into a nursing home facility, you trust staff to provide necessary care. No matter how badly you would like to look after your mother or father in the comfort of their own home, the reality is that you probably lack the time, training or equipment required to meet their needs.
Signing paperwork in an admissions packet is likely just one part of a stressful process in transitioning aging family members. Your contract with a care facility establishes a legal agreement defining the services provided in exchange for financial compensation. Therefore, you should be sure to understand the terms before potentially signing away your rights.
The New Mexico Supreme Court recently issued a ruling about nursing home arbitration agreements. Of note, though you may believe you have the opportunity to seek recourse for neglect, abuse or wrongful death, you must protect the right to explore your options.
The case included a question of contract fairness. As you entrusted your elderly family member to a nursing home, arbitration may have been required for grievances such as:
Meanwhile, your signature may have given the facility the right to sue you.
You may be wise not to sign a one-sided agreement protecting the facility’s ability to collect costs for their services without maintaining your loved one’s rights to receive quality care.
Knowing you can hold care providers accountable can provide assurance that your loved one will be treated with respect and dignity. Although nursing homes may require you to agree to arbitration for admittance, be sure to understand your rights before you place your signature on any document.