Families with a loved one in a nursing home may wind up in a legal dispute with a nursing home. When this occurs, the parties can work together toward a mutual solution or they can head toward the contentious and expensive process of litigation. Mediation helps the parties work together and avoid expensive court proceedings. Here are the basics that you need to understand about the mediation process in the nursing home setting.
Issues that Can Be Resolved with Mediation
There are a variety of legal issues that can successfully be resolved with mediation, including:
- Care provided
- Services made available to patients
- Billing issues
- Financial matters
- Allegations of nursing home abuse or neglect
Mediation may be entered into voluntarily by the parties or it may be required based on the nursing home contract or the court’s order.
At the beginning of the mediation process, the parties select an objective mediator. This allows them to select a mediator with subject matter expertise, such as someone who has worked in nursing home administration or a previous nursing home abuse or defense lawyer. The parties sign an agreement for mediation. What they discuss during the process is confidential and cannot be repeated or used against the other party if they are unable to reach a settlement.
The mediation process begins by the mediator explaining the rules of mediation. He or she describes the mediator’s role as a third-party neutral who will try to facilitate a settlement between the parties. He or she does not represent the interests of either party. The mediator will establish ground rules for interacting. The parties will then have their chance to provide an opening statement about their case. The parties will then work toward a resolution of the legal issues involved in the case either in the same room or separately with the mediator shuttling back and forth between the parties.