Many people entrust the care of their elderly loved ones to nursing homes. Unfortunately, there are times when loved ones are subjected to nursing home abuse and neglect. Nursing home abuse can take many forms, including actual abuse and neglect that occurs from poor supervision, inadequate staffing and other factors. But senior citizens who live in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities can be victims of financial abuse as well.
Recently, an Atlanta nursing home employee was charged with stealing money from the elderly patients she was hired to protect. The employee's job was to manage the nursing home patients' funds. She has been charged with stealing more than $5,000 from nursing home residents and is facing up to 15 years in prison.
Types of Financial Abuse
Financial abuse against nursing home residents can take many forms, including:
- Coercing a senior to sign legal documents like a power of attorney, arbitration agreement, deed or a will
- Forging a senior's signature
- Taking money or property without permission
- Charging a senior's credit cards or cashing checks without authorization
Seniors are vulnerable to financial abuse because many don't realize the value of their assets, rights to a jury trial, and they often rely on others to help them make financial decisions.
Signs of Financial Abuse
Unlike physical abuse, financial abuse is often invisible. There are, however, some indicators loved ones should be aware that may suggest financial abuse is occurring. Those signs include:
- The execution of new legal documents, such as powers of attorney
- A caregiver expresses too much interest in the amount of money being spent on the senior
- Property goes missing
- Suspicious signatures on checks
- Improbable explanations given about the senior's finances by the caregiver
Georgia Nursing Home Patient Rights
Nursing home residents have patient rights and certain protections under both federal law and the laws of Georgia. Nursing Home resident rights include:
- The right to be treated with dignity and respect
- The right to manage their own money or to choose someone else they trust to manage their finances
- The right to privacy
- The right to be informed about their medical care and medical treatment and to participate in their own care plan
- The right to refuse medications and treatments.
- The right to be free from abuse, neglect, exploitation and chemical and physical restraints
If you suspect your loved one's rights are being violated or that they are the victim of financial abuse, contact and experienced nursing home abuse attorney. An attorney can help navigate the complexities of health care law and obtain the compensation you and your family deserve.