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Financial abuse rampant in nursing homes

People in California know that nursing home abuse is a serious problem in the United States. For people who realize that one or more of their loved ones may one day be in the care of a nursing home or assisted living facility, this kind of abuse and neglect is the kind of thing that can keep them awake at night. Sadly, a lot of this abuse goes unnoticed and unpunished, even when shocking instances of physical torment and misconduct are brought to light.

One apparently widespread form of nursing home abuse is of the financial variety. In nursing homes, patients often have trust accounts that provide them with daily essentials as well as discretionary comforts. But due to their incapacity, many nursing home patients are not able to oversee these funds competently, leaving this responsibility to their caretakers, who have the duty to safeguard their money and use it solely for the patient's benefit.

Sadly, most states do not have adequate safeguards in place to protect nursing home patients from financial abuse at the hands of their caretakers. While California does require nursing home staff to pass a criminal background check, they do not audit the financial side of things once patients and their families entrust these caretakers with their money. All too often the result is that funds are misused or stolen from under the noses of the helpless people the funds are intended to provide for.

Fortunately, this issue is finally receiving the national attention it deserves. But nursing home residents in California are still very much at risk until legislative reforms can be passed. People who suspect their loved ones are the victims of either physical or financial nursing home abuse should immediately contact an experienced personal injury attorney for more information on how they can hold these abusers fully accountable under state and federal law.

Source: USA Today, "Oversight of nursing home trust funds limited," Peter Eisler, Dec. 1, 2013

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