Making the decision to move a loved one to a long term care facility can be difficult.  As a nursing home administrator, you must understand that most individuals want only the best care for their dependent family members and, as a result, will judge your facility on a number of levels. For example, individuals choosing a nursing home might narrow down their options based on the type of care the loved one needs combined with overall cost. Then, they might weigh factors such as cleanliness, friendliness, staff availability, residents’ well being, facility amenities, etc. to make the final decision.

Another thing they’ll consider is whether your operation adheres to local, state and federal regulations for facilities. As a nursing home administrator, you need to be prepared to explain any applicable industry laws set by the state and — more importantly — how your facility remains in compliance with each and every regulation.

A surety bond is a legal agreement that binds together three entities: an obligee, a principal and a surety. In most cases, the state or city is the obligee that requires the bond, a professional or business is the principal that purchases the bond, and the company that provides the bond is the surety.

When a principal purchases a surety bond, it pledges to the obligee that it will fulfill the terms of the surety contract. By providing the bond, the surety backs up this pledge. If the principal fails to fulfill the terms of the contract, a claim can be filed against the bond and the obligee will be protected from financial loss.

Currently, there’s no surety bond requirement for nursing homes/assisted living facilitates in South Carolina, but there’s a possibility of developing a new requirement in the future. The idea of implementing a surety bond requirement has been discussed in the past, and there’s a definite chance that it will be discussed again the future. For this reason, it’s important for South Carolina nursing home administrators to understand what surety bonds are and how they function. In the meantime, there are existing regulations that must be followed. Learn more about these regulations from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Once you purchase a surety bond for your nursing home facility, you and your staff are bound by contract to handle your residents’ funds according to the law, ethically and with residents’ best interests in mind. If you or a member of your staff fails to do so, a claim can be filed against your bond. If this claim is verified, your facility will have violated the law and, as a result, will suffer financial — and other — consequences.

To help the family members of dependent seniors see that your assisted living facility can provide the best care for their loved ones, let them know that you’re aware of current and potential future state and industry regulations. By explaining that your facility is in compliance with the law, takes its responsibilities seriously and has its residents’ best interests at heart, you can make an inevitably difficult decision much easier for family members.

Sara Aisenberg is the director of educational outreach at SuretyBonds.com, a nationwide surety bond provider based out of Columbia, Missouri. As part of the company’s educational outreach efforts, Sara explains surety bonds to help business professionals of all types stay in compliance with the laws of their states and industries. Keep up with Sara on Google+.

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