It can be a sign of financial abuse when your loved one’s personal items and money go missing in the nursing home, despite federal and state laws offering protection from financial abuse and theft in nursing homes.
The Illinois Health Facilities and Regulation (210 ILCS 45) Nursing Home Care Act states that residents of a long-term care facility have the right to adequate storage space for their personal property items and items of value. The act also explicitly states that it is a nursing home’s responsibility to prevent theft and loss of a resident’s property. Among other responsibilities, the nursing home has to train staff on loss and theft procedures and record personal property inventories.
If your parent or spouse in the nursing home has lost items or had personal property stolen, you may be able to file a claim for compensation. Do you believe the nursing home failed your loved one, or are you unhappy with the nursing home’s response to your concerns? You may wish to speak with a Riverside missing money or personal items lawyer to determine your options for moving forward and potentially recovering compensation. Call us at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today for a free consultation.
Theft and Loss in Nursing HomesWhen you have a spouse or parent in a nursing home, it can come as a shock to find out that theft in care facilities is not only relatively common, but also underestimated and underreported. In fact, older adults, including those in nursing homes, are just as likely to be victims of crime as any other age group.It can be a challenge to investigate complaints about theft due to the sheer amount of people who frequent the nursing home on a daily basis, such as staff, physicians, and visitors. Surprisingly, it is not only money and personal items that can be targets for criminals and thieves.
How To Prevent Theft in the Nursing Home
There is some truth to the saying “opportunity makes a thief.” Thieves often see elderly persons, particularly those suffering from dementia, as an easy target. There are some things you can do that might deter a thief from targeting your loved one in the nursing home. It is advisable to:
- Mark and label all personal items such as eyeglasses, clothes, hearing aids, and dentures.
- Keep only small amounts of cash on the premises for your loved one’s personal use.
- Make an inventory of all items, especially valuables.
- Take pictures of personal items and valuables for identification purposes.
- Ensure that your loved one has the use of a drawer with a lock and key to keep their personal items safe.
While theft and financial abuse are not always preventable, it helps to record your loved one’s personal possessions and valuable items, especially if your spouse or parent suffers from dementia. They may not even realize that any of their items are missing or stolen.
When Theft or Crime Happens in the Nursing Home
When you suspect or are sure that a crime took place, you may wish to speak to a Riverside missing money or personal items lawyer to assess whether you have a case against the nursing home. The nursing home can be held liable if they fail to take proper theft prevention measures in their facility.
Additionally, there are also some other steps you might want to take immediately upon finding out about a crime or theft:
- Alert nursing home staff and administration.
- Contact your local law enforcement agency.
- Find out if your homeowners’ insurance covers any losses.
It is important to follow up on any stolen money or lost property in the nursing home. Losing money or personal items is not only upsetting for an elderly resident and their family — it could also have adverse effects on the mental as well as physical health of the elderly person.
The loss of eye glasses, dentures, and hearing aids, for example, can severely impact a resident’s ability to take part in normal daily life. The lack of these items can exclude them from activities and potentially even cause malnourishment in the event of missing dentures.
Losing money and/or valuables such as jewelry can cause your loved one to feel insecure and generally unsafe in what should be their safe home environment. They might wonder whether they can trust the people around them and become suspicious of the nursing home staff or other residents. This can significantly reduce their quality of life. Call today for a free consultation so we can begin assisting you with your loved one’s case.
Nursing Home Procedures Regarding Missing Items
A nursing home has certain responsibilities when it comes to ensuring a financial abuse-free environment on their premises. A facility has to have policies in place for missing and stolen items, which must include documenting the theft or loss. The nursing home also has to train their staff in theft and loss procedures.
When it comes to reporting, a nursing home needs to keep records for any reported theft and losses over $25. It is also responsible for submitting a report to the local police for any theft or loss over $100.
The nursing home is further responsible for keeping updated inventory lists of residents’ property as well as marking residents’ items to reduce the possibility of theft and loss.
For a free legal consultation with a Missing Money or Personal Items Lawyer serving Riverside, call (800) 794-0444
Taking Action Against a Nursing Home
If your loved one is suffering from financial abuse such as theft and loss in a nursing home, taking appropriate action is vital to help your loved one as well as other residents.Your loved one has, by law, the right to be free from financial abuse in the nursing home. They could receive compensation for any financial losses sustained as well as any pain and anguish experienced as a result of financial crime and stolen property. Your loved one might also receive an award for any medical bills resulting from the loss of personal property. It can be challenging to know how to best hold a nursing home accountable for their failures. We can be by your side throughout this process and help with all aspects of building your case, for example, by collecting important evidence and witnesses.There are no risks or out-of-pocket costs for you as we do not charge any fees unless we win your case. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today to find out about your legal options and get your questions answered by our dedicated team.