The decision to admit yourself or a loved one to a nursing home is never easy, but sometimes it is necessary to obtain the best care and to make sure you or your loved one is safe. Unfortunately, some nursing homes will take advantage of a family’s vulnerability and pressure them to sign a lengthy admissions agreement that the family may not fully understand or had the chance to have their attorney review. Here are somethings to look out for:
1) The difference between the private room rate and the semi-private room rate. Whatever you decide is the most appropriate type of room for you, make sure that you are aware of the different daily rate charges. Some facilities will automatically place you or your loved one in a private room without confirming the additional cost. Private room rates can cost as much as $615 per day (or $18,500 per month), so beware and make sure your contract reflects your room preference and rate.
2) The automatic debit for monthly payment. Some nursing home contracts have a page requesting your bank account information so they may automatically debit your nursing home bill from your account every month. You do not have to agree to an automatic debit. Rather, you can request that an itemized bill be presented to you each month so you can review your monthly charges and make your payment accordingly. Too often, nursing facilities add additional charges (such as therapy etc.) without the family knowing or have mistakes on the bill. You should retain control of your payments to make sure you are paying the accurate amount due to the facility each month.
Responsible Party. Most, if not all, nursing home admissions agreements include a signature for the “Responsible Party”. The Responsible Party is the individual who will guarantee payments to the nursing home. If you are the resident and can sign on your own, you only need to sign as the resident, no Responsible Party signature is needed. If you are signing as Power of Attorney for your loved one, you should sign as Power of Attorney on behalf of the resident on the resident signature line. Unless you are prepared to guarantee payment, you should not sign as Responsible Party.