When a person in New Jersey decides to put a loved one in a nursing home, they will have to execute a contract with the facility. It is important that people understand what to include and what not to include in such contracts. This is for the benefit of their loved one, who will be under the care of the nursing home staff. The following suggestions of what to include in a nursing home contract may be helpful to readers, but ultimately readers should seek legal guidance before signing a nursing home contract.
First, the contract should be unambiguous as to what services the nursing home includes as part of its basic daily rate. If there are services not included in the basic rate, the contract should note what it will charge for such services. If the resident plans on using Medicaid to pay for their nursing home stay, the contract should include language giving them the right to apply for Medicaid as well as the ability to appeal a denial of benefits. The facility’s “bedhold policy” should meet any requirements set out through Medicaid.
The contract should also state that the resident cannot be ordered to leave the facility unless it is necessary for their welfare, they no longer need the services the facility provides, they are endangering the health of other residents, if there is an unreasonable failure to pay, or if the nursing home shuts down. Finally, the contract should contain language regarding how decisions will be made if the resident needs to be moved into a new room in the facility.
In addition, the contract should not contain language limiting its liability should a resident suffer an injury on its premises, nor should the contract limit the facility’s liability for the personal property of residents. The contract should not contain language that mandates that the resident deposit all assets into an account controlled by the facility. Visiting hours should not be restricted.
These are only some suggestions on what to include and what not to include in a nursing home contract. A nursing home contract will be legally binding once signed. Before signing a nursing home contract, it can help to have an elder law attorney review it to ensure it is fair and appropriate.