The intake process for any new resident in a nursing home facility will include, of course, an admission agreement. This is a legally binding contract between the facility and the resident (or the person signing on their behalf) that spells out the expectations and rights of the patient and the responsibilities of the care facility.
Patients and their family members are often warned that administrators may try to trick them into signing agreements that put them at financial risk or some other disadvantage, so you can expect the paperwork to be heavily scrutinized. That makes it particularly important to make sure that your facility’s admission agreements are clear and legally correct.
What information should be included?
Primarily, you need to make sure that your admission agreement describes the services that your facility will provide, the costs and your fee structure. However, the agreement should also include things like:
- Descriptions of the resident’s rights, including the procedure to file a complaint
- Descriptions of how a resident’s needs will be evaluated (or re-evaluated)
- Fee schedules for additional services that the resident may need
- Visitation policies, and policies regarding electronic surveillance in patient rooms (so-called “granny cams”)
- Explanations of both the facility’s rights and the patient’s rights regarding closures or evictions
- Policies regarding personal possessions, thefts and losses
- The availability of special services for residents who need translators or those with unique needs created by their disabilities
- The availability of additional services that can be arranged through the nursing home (such as hair and nail care)
- An explanation of the procedure for modifying or terminating the agreement by either party
You also need to consider how your admission agreement will address formal disputes. Many facilities are asking residents or their family members to agree to binding arbitration or some other form of alternative dispute resolution, so that they aren’t constantly threatened with litigation.
A well-crafted admissions agreement is designed to protect everybody’s interests. Make sure that the agreements your facility uses genuinely reflect those goals.