Archive for June, 2014

Nursing Home Admission Documents – Be Wary, Be Informed

By admin

Friday, June 13th, 2014

Some recent Supreme Court rulings have negatively affected the rights of nursing home patients and their families.

When completing admission documentation at a nursing home, beware the “mandatory arbitration” clause.   In an effort to secure legal immunity, some nursing homes have added language in their admission agreements to protect themselves from lawsuits.  By signing these documents you may be surrendering your rights, and should negligence arise, your only path for recourse might be mandatory arbitration.

In a mandatory arbitration situation you are denied a trial by your peers and instead an arbitrator decides the rules, weighs the facts and arguments of both parties, and then decides the dispute.  Note, it is often the nursing home that chooses the arbitrator and any revelations about the nursing home situation tend to be kept secret.  This is because that leading up to a trial there is an open pre trial discovery stage which may compel the nursing home to turn over certain evidence or documents demonstrating their negligence or wrongdoing, which can be absent from the arbitration process.

Consumer advocates have long said that mandatory arbitration clauses deny clients their rights to a fair hearing.  It is important to read nursing home admission documents carefully to determine if they contain a mandatory arbitration clause, so that you can make an informed choice for your loved one.