What is Considered Financial Abuse in Nursing Homes?
Financial exploitation is one most common types of nursing home abuse.
Nursing home residents may be vulnerable to a range of abuse, including financial exploitation. This form of nursing home abuse involves exploiting an individual's finances for one's own benefit without the victim fully understanding the repercussions of their decisions.
Sadly, statistics point toward financial abuse being a regular occurrence, as financial exploitation was identified as one of the most common types of elder abuse.
What are examples of financial abuse in nursing homes?
Nursing home financial abuse occurs when a staff member illegally uses a resident's money, credit lines, property, benefits, or assets without permission. Examples of financial exploitation include:
- Theft of money or personal property from the resident
- Withdrawing funds from the resident's bank account without consent
- Forging signatures on financial documents, such as checks
- Overcharging for services
- Charging for care not provided
- Billing for unnecessary services or supplies
- Billing twice for the same service (double-billing)
- Misuse of a resident's power of attorney or bank accounts
- Making changes to a resident's estate planning documents (e.g. their Last Will and Testament) without informed consent
Nursing home residents are particularly vulnerable to financial exploitation due to cognitive decline and isolation. Without close monitoring from family members or care providers, financial abuse can continue for extended periods without detection.
Know the warning signs of financial exploitation.
Remember, you know your loved one better than most. As such, it's important to be vigilant if you suspect something is wrong or notice questionable activities involving your loved one's finances. Common signs of financial abuse include:
- Sudden changes in financial accounts or banking practices
- Unexplained disappearance of funds or assets
- Unusual or unauthorized withdrawals or transfers
- Unpaid bills despite adequate financial resources
- Power of attorney given to a staff member or unfamiliar person
- Resident lacks control over or knowledge of their own finances
- Sudden changes in a will or other legal documents
- Unnecessary or unjustified services or fees charged
- Signs of neglect, such as lack of basic care or living in unsanitary conditions
Signs that a staff member may have used undue influence, deceit, threats, or even force to gain access to a resident's financial resources should never be ignored, no matter how uncertain the situation may seem. If you suspect such abuse has occurred, there are several options available.
How to report financial abuse in nursing homes
You can talk to the nursing home administrator and file an online report with the Department of Human Services Division of Aging Services. Gathering evidence and documentation of your loved one's recent financial activity can also help prove your suspicions.
In addition, Adult Protective Services (1-866-552-4464) and the Georgia Department of Community Health Healthcare Facility Regulation (1-800-878-6442) offer support in cases of suspected financial abuse. Finally, you should contact an experienced Georgia nursing home abuse lawyer who can help guide you through the process and ensure justice is served.
Contact a nursing home abuse attorney today.
If you suspect your loved one is the victim of financial abuse in a nursing home, a lawyer can work with you and your family to protect your rights and help you understand your potential legal options. At The Law Office of George S. Johnson, LLC, we can provide support to your family throughout the entire legal process and fight for the justice your family deserves. To learn more about how an experienced Georgia nursing home abuse lawyer can help you, contact us today for a free consultation.