Some nursing homes are filing papers to become guardians of some patients in order to get control over patients' assets to pay debts to the nursing homes. With the aging of the population, will many healthcare organizations, including hospitals, soon be doing this?
The New York Times reports that this practice, at least in New York, has ''become routine, underscoring the growing power nursing homes wield over residents and families amid changes in the financing of long-term care.''
''At least one judge has ruled that the tactic by nursing homes is an abuse of the law, but the petitions, even if they are ultimately unsuccessful, force families into costly legal ordeals.'
''Although it is a drastic measure, nursing home lawyers argue that using guardianship to secure payment for care is better than suing an incapacitated resident who cannot respond.''