If possible, the resident should sign the agreement him- or herself. If the resident is incapacitated, someone else may sign the agreement. Whether this person will be financially responsible depends upon what the documents say and in what capacity the person signing acts.
To start, the person signing on behalf of the nursing home resident should not be personally liable for the charges unless she signs as guarantor.
For more on signing nursing home agreements, click here
For an account of a case that highlights the risk to family members of signing agreements as a "responsible relative," click here.