Following a hospitalization, rehabilitation in a nursing home is frequently required for those overcoming a prolonged illness or surgery. The hospital may be eager to free its bed and desire to push the patient out as quickly as possible. Patients and their families feel pressured to find an open bed in a local nursing home. What a relief it is when they finally find a slot! At this point, the patient or their responsible family member will gladly sign anything to get admitted to the facility without fully appreciating the legal ramifications of signing their name to certain documents during the nursing home admissions process.
Lurking within this stack of documents is a contract, which if signed, is likely to cause the resident and his family the loss of important constitutional rights. Even more troubling, by signing this document known as an “Arbitration Clause” or “Arbitration Provision,” the resident may be inadvertently setting himself up to receive substandard care from the nursing home. How could this be? Arbitration clauses generally insulate and protect nursing home corporations from being held fully accountable for their negligence and the harm they cause to their residents. If you sign an agreement giving up your right to sue them in the event they act negligently, do you really believe that they are going to have the same incentive to provide your family member with the highest quality of care?
The choice is simple: refuse to sign any nursing home admission agreement or document that contains an arbitration clause. Nursing home staff should not pressure you or your loved one into signing such a document. If they do, tell them that you would like to speak with a lawyer first and sit back and watch them crumble the page as they tell you that it will not be necessary. Remember, they want to fill that bed with a paying customer as quickly as possible.
Therefore, as a Venice, Florida nursing home abuse attorney, I strongly advise families to avoid signing any nursing home paperwork or admission contract that contains an arbitration clause. If you have questions regarding nursing home or assisted living neglect or abuse or would simply like a lawyer to review an admission agreement or arbitration clause, feel free to contact me, James Keim, Attorney at Law for a free, confidential consultation at (941) 485-7600. Visit www.venicelawfirm.com for more information on nursing home abuse and neglect.