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Arbitration agreement apparently at play in nursing home lawsuit

Golden LivingCenter, a nursing home facility located in Stanford, Kentucky, is currently the target of several lawsuits involving accusations of negligence. One suit, filed last December, makes similar allegations with respect to another resident who suffered from poor hygiene, abscessed skin, and bacterial infection. Yet another lawsuit, the first to be filed, seeks to hold the facility accountable for the wrongful death of a resident.

The third and most recent suit alleges that the nursing home neglected care of a former resident to such a degree that she suffered multiple injuries, including a hip injury, over-medication, dehydration and skin tears.  The nursing home has denied wrongdoing, both with respect to the wrongful death claim and the claims of negligence. 

One of the issues raised by the nursing facility in response to one of the lawsuits is that the nursing home can compel arbitration of the claim under an agreement the resident signed at the time of his admission. Such arbitration agreements are quite common, their use having grown significantly over the last 10 years or so in every industry, including elder care. 

Arbitration clauses can be problematic for nursing home residents, first of all, because they are typically couched in complicated contractual language that is difficult to navigate and understand for an elderly person whose mental sharpness is decreasing.  They can also be problematic because of the arbitration process itself.

In our next post, we'll look further at this issue, particularly why it can be helpful to consult an experienced advocate before signing a nursing home arbitration agreement.

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