Arbitration Clauses Erode Patient Rights in Nursing Homes
Placing a loved one in the care of a nursing home is an extremely emotional and stressful process. Due to the stress and emotions involved in this decision, you may not be in the position to understand and comprehend some of the long and intimidating documents placed before you.
One of the documents now included in many admission agreements is an arbitration clause. While the document may appear innocent enough, it actually strips you of many of the rights you have in the event the nursing home abuses, neglects, or kills your loved one. Some of the drawbacks to arbitration provisions are the following: 1. arbitrations are expensive; 2. arbitrations severely limit your ability to obtain evidence in possession of the nursing home; 3. arbitrations are usually confidential; 4. arbitration clauses sometimes require hearings in inconvenient venues; and 5. arbitrations limit the remedies available to claimants (i.e. no injunctive relief, no punitive damages, etc.)
Prior to signing a nursing home admission agreement, review the documents carefully. Be on the lookout for arbitration agreements and proceed cautiously. If you are forced to agree to an arbitration clause as a condition of care, you may want to choose another home. While you may be focused on obtaining care for your loved one, based upon the high number of resident abused and neglected everyday, you also need to think of your legal options down the road.
Attached is an article addressing arbitration agreements and eroding patient rights in nursing homes. Prior to signing an arbitration agreement and admitting a loved one to a nursing home, call the attorneys of Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC to learn more about your legal rights.