Know Your Rights: Nursing Home Contract Of Care

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Know Your Rights has been compiled by Kerry Citizens Information Service which provides a free and confidential service to the public…

Question: I have chosen a nursing home to live in and have been asked to sign a contract. I’m not sure what to look out for. What should be included in the contract? 

Answer: When you decide on a nursing home, you are asked to sign a contract of care. This sets out the rights and responsibilities for you and for the nursing home. It is important that you understand it before you sign it. If the contract refers to other documents, you must be given those documents at the same time.

A nursing home must use simple and language that you can understand in its contract of care. It should not have unexplained legal jargon.

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The contract should include:

• Details of the specific services that the nursing home will provide
• Details of how much you will pay for the services, and how this will be paid
• All details of additional charges and fees
• Any specific policies around visitors or your absences from the nursing home
• The circumstances under which you might be asked to leave
• The circumstances under which changes to the contract will apply and how those changes will be agreed
• Details on the circumstances in which the nursing home can cancel your contract of care, which must be limited and specific

The contract should not include terms that allow the nursing home to change the contract without your agreement after you have signed it.

It should not allow the nursing home to have an unlimited right to increase or add fees after the initial costs are agreed with you.

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission website,, has more information about what you are entitled to expect in a nursing home contract for care. It includes information about what you can do if you think that a contract for care is unfair.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.

• Contact us in Tralee on Tel: 0761 07 7860 Killarney 0761 07 7820, Listowel 0761 07 7840 Kenmare 0761 07 7810, & Caherciveen 0761 07 7780. Outreach Services; Killorglin weekly, Dingle monthly, please call Tralee for more information.

Information is also available online at and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, 0761 07 4000

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