Jan 20, 2011

Should I sign mom's nursing home admission agreement?

Admitting a parent or other loved one into a nursing home is bound to be an emotional, even traumatic experience for everyone involved. But keep your wits about you. You're going to need to think clearly when you are faced with the nursing home's admission agreement.

Most nursing homes in Florida and elsewhere ask you to sign your loved one's admission agreement. Politely refuse. Specifically, do not sign the section requesting the signature of "responsible party." If you do, you could be on the hook for any costs not covered by Medicare, Medicaid or other insurance.

If you are the patient’s Attorney-in-Fact under his Durable Power of Attorney, you may sign on behalf of the patient - but do NOT sign as the responsible party. If at all possible, the patient himself should sign the agreement, although obviously this is not always possible. We know people who have signed for their relatives, and weeks and months later received bills in the thousands of dollars for unpaid expenses! Don't let this happen to you.

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