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Financial abuse in a nursing home

When you consider the term nursing home abuse, you might think of physical injuries or emotional neglect. Unfortunately, many nursing home residents are also vulnerable to financial exploitation by their caretakers.

If your loved one lives in a nursing home, be aware of these signs of financial abuse.

Failure to report crimes against a resident

If your family member has experienced theft by an employee or guest at the nursing home, federal law requires the facility to report these crimes. Even reasonable suspicion requires a report. If you suspect your loved one has fallen victim to theft but the nursing home fails to follow up on your suspicions, consider filing a complaint with the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau.

Missing financial or identification documents

Identify theft is a common form of financial exploitation. If your parent cannot find his or her ID cards, credit or debit cards, checkbook or important financial paperwork, check his or her accounts and credit report for signs of this crime.

Reports by your family member

Even if your loved one has cognitive impairments, he or she may know if a person has stolen money or possessions. Take these reports from your family member seriously. Also pay attention if he or she becomes secretive, particularly about finances.

Missing possessions

When your family member lacks the basic necessities at his or her nursing home and/or if personal possessions have gone missing, consider the possibility of financial exploitation. In some cases, the facility may charge for items like clothing and linens but fail to provide adequately for these needs. Missing medication is also a red flag, since someone can steal it to abuse or sell.

Unusual behavior

Does a staff member insist on being in the room whenever you visit your family member? Does your loved one seem isolated from other residents? Has a staff member pressured him or her to sign documents or provide access to accounts? These situations all warrant further investigation.

Make sure you help your family member choose a nursing home with a good reputation. These facilities should screen their staff members to ensure resident security.

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Carlton F. Bennett Mr. Bennett is recognized as an expert in traumatic brain damage litigation, nursing home malpractice, and wrongful death cases. He has obtained numerous multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts for traumatic brain injury survivors, and other cases involving serious injuries.
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