Nursing Home Contracts – Proceed with Care

The decision to put a loved one into a nursing home is complicated, rife with conflicted feelings and concern about your loved one’s future. Equally complicated are the contracts signed before a loved one takes up his or her new residence. It is essential to approach such contracts with a wary eye ¾ and a skilled attorney by your side.

According to the Maryland State Bar Association, the nursing home has three options – one of two model contracts set up by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, or the nursing home can set up its own.

Of the model contracts, the resident admission model is most common. The resident’s agent contract is typically used for patients incapable of entering into a contract themselves. If the nursing home contract is used, clients are urged to get copies of the state models and compare them. If the nursing home contract differs sharply from the model, there are resources available for an explanation.

Contracts should include at least the basic rate (which includes room and board, social services and other information). The contract should also include a list of patient rights, information on how to file a complaint and other information.

The most important tool in deciding on the nursing home care for a family member is information. The numerous resources available in Maryland include the Maryland Long-Term Care Ombudsman at (410) 767-1100 and the DHMH Office of Health Care Quality at 410-402-8201.

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