Financial abuse is a distressing reality that can occur in nursing homes, posing significant risks to vulnerable residents. While these facilities need to provide care and support to elderly individuals, financial exploitation can slip under the radar.
With 15,600 nursing homes in America as of 2018, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the ways in which financial abuse can take place in nursing homes are important to know.
Exploitative staff members
Nursing homes employ a wide range of staff, including caregivers, nurses and administrators. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous individuals may seize the opportunity to exploit elderly residents.
They might coerce residents into handing over their personal financial information, including bank account details or credit cards. Others may steal cash or valuable possessions.
Financial abuse can also happen through unauthorized withdrawals from residents’ bank accounts. Caregivers or staff members with access to residents’ financial information might discreetly siphon off funds for their personal gain, leaving the resident without the resources they need for their care.
False billing and overcharging
Nursing homes typically charge residents for the services they provide. However, some facilities engage in fraudulent practices by overcharging or billing for services that were never rendered. Residents and their families may be unaware of these discrepancies, allowing the financial abuse to persist.
Elders in nursing homes can be particularly vulnerable to coercion and manipulation due to their physical or cognitive limitations. Some individuals may emotionally manipulate residents into changing their wills, naming them as beneficiaries or making other financial decisions that are not in the resident’s best interest.
In some cases, financial abuse and neglect are often intertwined. When nursing home staff fail to provide the necessary care and support, residents may have to pay for services or goods that the staff should provide as part of a care package. This can deplete their financial resources unfairly.
Being proactive about financial abuse is helpful for elderly people’s peace of mind. Even after an issue happens, reacting quickly and staying vigilant about this problem is key so residents can preserve as much of their funds as possible.