A new resident entering a nursing home must sign a contract which spells out both the terms of payment and the services to be provided by the home. Every resident, however, has different needs, and may occasionally require specific items or services that are not at hand, and must be purchased separately. Therefore it is important to know which items and services must be supplied by the nursing home at no extra charge. This article focuses on elderly persons who are physically and/or mentally frail.
Every nursing home is obligated by law to provide for its residents’ basic needs: suitable living arrangements, a bed, appropriate nutrition, 3 meals a day, etc. Typically, however, nursing homes supply more than the law requires. It is therefore important to verify, when signing the contract, which services are included in the monthly fee and which will involve an additional fee.
According to law, units and homes for the mentally and/ or physically frail must meet the special medical and nursing needs of every patient. All medical treatment, personal nursing care and general upkeep are included in the monthly fee. Some places, however, do tend to charge extra fees for specific services, and it is not always clear what exactly the resident is or is not entitled to.
Nursing homes may not charge extra for several services, which have been defined by law as a basic part or the necessary medical and/ or nursing care:
* Transition to “code” based hospitalization – the law forbids charging a fee for the transition from private hospitalization to “code” hospitalization supported by the Ministry of Health.
* Rooms – The rooms in most nursing units contain two to four beds each. Some homes may offer private rooms with a single bed for a special fee paid by the family. This is prohibited by law in public institutions.
* Medications – Medications are clearly a necessity, and therefore the Ministry of Health has included their price in the daily cost of treatment in a nursing unit. Charging extra for medications included in the Health Basket is against the law.
* Disposable absorbency products – Adult diapers are considered a part of medical treatment, and must be supplied at no extra charge. However, there is a grey area to this rule: the home is not required to supply adult diapers as long as the patient is using a catheter.
* Personal Laundry – The home is obligated to wash its residents’ clothing – both items that belong to the institution and personal clothes owned by the resident.
* Shaving, haircuts, nail care – Personal hygiene is important for continued care and is not considered a luxury. The institution must provide these services at reasonable intervals as part of the medical treatment.
* Transporting patients for treatment in general hospitals – In special situations, when the nursing unit cannot provide the needed medical treatment, patients are transferred to general hospitals. The cost of this transport must be included in the monthly fees of public institutions. Residents of private homes shouldn’t have to pay extra either because these homes can claim refunds from the Ministry of Health. Under no circumstances should families be asked to pay for transport to a hospital.
In conclusion, it is important to look over the contract carefully and insist on getting everything you are entitled to from the home. This is true for all types of institutions: public and private homes, retirement homes for independent individuals, and nursing homes for the mentally or physically frail. By doing this you will keep unwelcome surprises out of your monthly bills, and most important, you will prevent unpleasant disagreements that may have detrimental effects on the residents themselves.
For more information on the rights of nursing home residents – click here.
The information presented in the English website is partial. For full info please visit our Hebrew website