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Went in to sign the contract. In the legalese was this statement
It encompassed all emergencies - natural disaster or heart attack, stroke, etc.


I thought that seemed like a large time span. Was told it likely would be much sooner but legally, yes, they have that long.


Is this a standard clause or practice in memory care? Can't seem to find data on it.

I don’t know. But good for you for noticing and it would not be okay with me. It sounds like a way of saying we don’t check on your loved one for as long as 12 hours. I doubt you are agreeing to pay the big bucks for that kind of care. I would love for someone to explain how this is not what it looks like as it is very disturbing.
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Sarah3 Jun 15, 2021
No facility no matter how nice the decor and perks such as hair salons and movie night cares about our loved ones like family does. Assisted livings are a big bucks industry large scale, probably also why I’ve seen posts here about the not so great quality of meals - and if a resident isn’t wanting to eat at meal time they don’t have the personal concern to ensure they do end up eating at a later time in the day. Residents being left for hours before staff responds to their call light, some floor staff texting while residents sit in an activity room, etc
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12 hours! That’s crazy. I would specifically ask them why wait 12 hours to notify the family of any incidents that occur.
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rovana Jun 11, 2021
Sounds like they are stating an outside limit to cover themselves legally. What is their actual practice? I could see it taking that long or longer in the case of say an earthquake or hurricane.
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Probably. The lawyers are protecting the facility. In the event of a natural disaster and were telecommunications to go down or evacuation to be necessary, I could easily see it taking 12 hours to notify family. It's a specific clause related to emergencies. I wouldn't go making assumptions about their day-to-day practice.
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cweissp Jun 11, 2021
I agree, they are probably talking about a large scale emergency. I never noticed the language in the contract I signed admitting my dad to SNF.

I regularly received phone calls, early morning or late evening usually once a week telling me dad fell (and I'm not kidding). They called after they had gotten dad up and check him over and rechecked him so I'd say they'd call within an hour of his falling. Even if he fell at 2AM and no real damage (usually bruising and scrapes) I would be ok with them waiting to call at 7am - if on the other hand it was bad enough to send him to ER, then they better call once he's on his way to ER or I'd be raking them over the coals.

While it would be distressing - if there were an emergency such as earthquake, tornado striking the building, etc, I could see it easily being a lengthy time before notification - not saying I would be happy about the delay but in a situation like that there is only so much they can do.
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Check with your State Ombudsman. Sounds odd to me. I had an aide call me 6am in the morning. They must abide by State law.
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Thank you everyone! Appreciate your responses. I have an update: this is apparently a CA state minimum all senior living centers must meet. This place (& another I spoke to via phone) said their response time is asap. Of course, I have to decide to take their word, research reviews, etc.

We had heard good things about this particular place; I think the Exec Director could have explained it better than he did but I do feel somewhat better now.

Would expect more delays in cases of natural disasters. Mainly concerned that if Mom had a heart attack or stroke, she could pass away in a hospital and we'd miss the chance of being w/ her to love & comfort her.

Thanks again.
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disgustedtoo Jun 11, 2021
It never hurts to ask. Many people would probably sign documents like this without really reviewing them. As others noted, and appears you've been told, there are likely state requirements that have to be met.

I don't recall seeing that in my mother's documents, but may not have noticed it. They would call me and report even minor tumbles mom had. Cell service is not very good where I live and there's even a 30-40 dead zone I have to cross when going a certain way to my own duties and appointments. I always advise everyone to leave a brief message (who you are and a # to reach you at) because the notification that I have a msg generally appears right away, even if the call didn't register.

The one time early in her stay at MC that I heard after the fact was when I was away for hours. I had just arrived home when they called to ask if I could pick her up at the ER. Alternative was better - there's a local transport service that is closer to the hospital and since the facility is in the same town, the charge was only $10. I would have been much later. At least a 20m drive to get there, maybe 25, and would have to unload my car first. So, I didn't hear about this tumble. They likely tried to call but didn't leave a message and since they couldn't reach me, they sent her off to the ER (needlessly - she would really just tumble, not really fall, so no injury, not even a bruise.)

So, if you consider that, they would need some kind of window to allow them to contact you in the event that you weren't available. Highly unlikely they are waiting 12 hours to seek treatment or care. In all other cases, they called me right away to report anything they considered a potential change in her condition. If their window was more like 10m, and they can't reach you, would you then blame them for not contacting you, even though they tried and couldn't make contact in that 10m? We aren't always available, so they need some guidance - if there's a way to leave a message, certainly they should be doing that right away, but they can't leave a lot of detail, just in case the dial wrong (HIPPA.)

Once she's settled in, you will find out whether they make quick contact or not. Unless it's a really crappy place, I wouldn't be overly concerned about that CYA in the document. IF you find they are lax about making contact for issues, then consider moving elsewhere.
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For a close loved one I don’t think I could bring myself to sign such an agreement, what they tell you verbally ( such as don’t worry what the document says in most cases it would be asap) doesn’t hold much weight at all- if you sign such an agreement that’s what you need to assume it could take up to 12 hours - they’ll tell you verbally no worries this is a formality, we would tell you much sooner is a way for them to ease you into signing it, but has no legal way for you to enforce. Only go by what you see in writing. If it’s not something you’d feel good about not being informed for 12 hours, don’t sign it is my only advice
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Everyone with a loved one in a facility for memory care should have a camera...100%
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PaulaK Jun 15, 2021
I agree. But I couldn't find any facility in my Dad's city that would allow it. They claim it's "for the privacy" of the residents, but they wouldn't even allow me to put a camera in his private room -- even though I'd had cameras in his house for years (since I lived remotely).

Facility's refusal to allow cameras is clearly for the benefit of the memory facility, not for residents or their families. Congress needs to change this.
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Not reading the other answers yet, but my gut would say to ask our elder law attorney and not to sign anything:-) One can cross such phrases out or change the amount of time by writing in another amount of time, but then they may refuse to accept the patient. Likely be much sooner is not acceptable to ME if it is MY loved one. Standard or not. That's an outrage if someone could be dying and I could be on my way to the hospital or if I was out of town....
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I wouldn't sign that before I had checked it out with someone in the facility who REALLY knows what goes on in an emergency.

They ARE probably just trying to cover their butts, yet 12 hrs seems a long time to go when there has been an accident, fall or stroke, etc.
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Anyone, before chiming in, read JTFW1924's update on June 11, 2021: It states in part:

"I have an update: this is apparently a CA state minimum all senior living centers must meet."

I would think every state has requirements that every facility must meet and they would have to state it in the document. Think about it - if they can't reach anyone who is responsible for the person in 10, 20, 30 minutes, they could be held liable for not contacting you ASAP. Of course we'd want updates as soon as possible, if there was an emergency, but this does NOT mean they aren't responsible for checking your LO all the time. It is regarding contacting the representative within a reasonable time if there is a concern or emergency. If you aren't available, is it their fault they can't reach you right away?

My mother's facility always contacted me right away if there was ANY concern at all. THIS is what you would base your concerns on. If they aren't checking on them and staying in touch, find another place that will. Visit often enough and at random times so that you can see for yourself how well cared for your LO is. Any time I went, and yes, I varied the days/times, my mother was always dressed, clean, fed and well cared for.
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I would contact the Office on Aging and Adult Protective Services in your county and possibly an eldercare attorney. This sounds very odd to me given an emergency. Keep looking until you see specific laws.
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Saw there was an update to this with more definition about that statement on the contract HOWEVER I would suggest someone to ask: So that is the state minimum requirement. What is your expectation and procedure? And I would make a note of what they say on that contract.
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JTFW1924: I did see your update. Imho, it makes sense, e.g. if the patient has suffered a stroke, that they notify the patient's representative family member STAT because as in the case of a stroke, time is of the essence. You, the family member representative, may have only a short amount of time to get to the hospital that your LO has been transported to. The twelve hour window may be based on the longest amount of time that they have, e.g. at hour 12 and let's say 1 or 2 minutes, they have not followed proper guidelines in their business model if they've failed to contact the LO's representative.
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Seems a problem if family must give consent for treatment. In the case of most medical emergencies, health care professionals talk about "the golden hour," the first 60 minutes being critical to reverse problems. I would get more clarification about how the staff deals with "the golden hour".
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