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Nursing Homes- Articles of Interest:

Nursing Homes: Finding a Really Great One

Nursing Homes: What critical information should I know?

Nursing Home Staff That You Should Know

Evaluating the Nursing Home Facility

Understanding the Nursing Home Contract

Evaluating and Monitoring Care at Nursing Homes

Senior Articles of Interest:

Alzheimer's Disease

Cancer: A Death Sentence for the Elderly?

Depression among the Elderly

Community Agencies and Resources: St. Louis, Missouri

Health Insurance 101 for Senior Citizens 

Long term care insurance: What is it really?

Medical Conditions and Information for the Elderly

Medicare: How will it help me?

Medicaid Program: What do I need to know?

Medication Information for the Elderly

Nursing Homes: What critical information should I know?

Personal Safety for Grandma and Grandpa

Prescription Medication: You have to get it right

Psychiatric Medications

Social Security: Can I get it now?

Senior Housing Options

Senior Care Psychological Consulting

Web Site Map



Nursing Homes: Understanding the Contract is Imperative


hearing and agingNursing homes require you to sign a contract prior to your loved one entering the facility.  You should read it closely and make sure you understand the nursing home contract before the day of admission.  This contract will set forth all of the requirements, costs and responsibilities of the nursing home.  If there is anything not in the contract that needs to be there, insist that it be added in writing.  The nursing home contract should include the following information: 

  • The basic daily or monthly charge and exactly what that covers

  • additional charges;

  • your right to apply for Medicare and Medicaid;

  • when, how and why it may be transferred to another facility or room;

  • any special diets which may be required;

  • refund policy;

  • the bedhold policy;

  • any reasons for discharge from the nursing home.

The individual entering the nursing home will be the one signing the documents unless they have given someone power of attorney or unless guardianship has been appointed.  Sometimes the nursing home might tell the family they need to sign is a guarantor or to indicate that they are the next of kin or the responsible person who needs to be contacted. This is usually unnecessary and not required unless they're willing to take financial responsibility for the bills. 

The Nursing Home Reform Act is a federal law regulating nursing homes.  This law contains a list of things which may not be included in a nursing home admission contract.  An important factor included in the law is a restriction on discharges from the nursing home.  In most cases, you may only be made to leave if: 

  • It is necessary for your benefit to meet some of your needs;

  • your health improves and you no longer need this level of care;

  • you are a threat to the safety or health of other residents;

  • you do not pay for the services;

  • the nursing home closes.

Another thing that is very important is to understand the bedhold policy.  If you have to leave temporarily to go into the hospital, to another facility etc., the nursing home can charge a fee to hold your bed until you return. You should be alert to contracts that: 

  • Limit the nursing home's liability for theft or damage of your property while you're gone;

  • require that the resident give all of his or her income to the facility directly;

  • have limitations on visiting hours;

  • require consent forms for unneeded medical procedures as a precaution;

  • require a living will or health care proxy;

  • require you to pay even though you're eligible for Medicaid.

Make sure that you understand the nursing home contract prior to admission and you will never be sorry.

Some information from Seniorís Rights: Your Legal Guide to Living Life to the Fullest By Brette McWhorter Sember 

Additional Information By Paul Susic M.A. Licensed Psychologist Ph.D. Candidate (Geriatric Psychologist)       

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