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Signs of Nursing Home Trust Fund Abuse

Colburn Law

Elder abuse is unfortunately prevalent among senior citizens in the United States. This mistreatment can involve physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, as well as abandonment and neglect. However, one of the most common forms of elder abuse involves finances.

Many elderly people living in long-term care facilities experience nursing home trust fund abuse, which occurs when caregivers misappropriate elders’ money from trusts. Unfortunately, many facilities fail to prevent financial abuse in nursing homes, severely harming their residents.

What Is Nursing Home Trust Fund Abuse?

Nursing homes have a duty to care for all of their residents’ needs. Staff is responsible for preparing regular meals, planning and hosting social enrichment activities, and managing medication. Many elderly people opt to have their nursing home manage their finances through a trust account.

The nursing home can access the resident’s money through their trust account to pay bills, make purchases, and pay interests. However, many nursing home employees have been accused of stealing money from trust funds to pay for their own purchases.

Trust fund abuse can go unnoticed for a long time. As staff members siphon more money from the account, an elderly resident can fall behind on bills, be unable to afford medical care, and experience many other financial struggles.

How to Spot Trust Fund Abuse

How to Spot Trust Fund Abuse in Nursing Homes

If you suspect that an elderly loved one is experiencing trust fund abuse, it is important to remain calm and monitor his or her finances carefully. While trust fund abuse can be difficult to spot, certain signs indicate that someone is tampering with your loved one’s account.

Small, Unexplained Transactions

First, examine your loved one’s account for any unexplained charges, transfers, or withdrawals. Instead of taking out a large chunk of money at once, people tend to make smaller, frequent withdrawals to avoid detection. Make a note of any unknown transactions that you see and conduct deeper research to determine if your loved one approved the purchase.

Unpaid Bills and Interest

Nursing homes that offer trust funds for residents have a duty to maintain their finances. If trust fund abuse is occurring, however, your loved one may fall behind on bills and other payments. He or she may not be able to obtain necessary care or medications. If your loved one is struggling financially despite having a trust account, he or she may be experiencing trust fund abuse.

Behavior of Staff Members

Nursing home employees who commit trust fund abuse often go to great lengths to conceal the misappropriation. A staff member may show an intense interest in your loved one’s spending, exert unusual control over his or her finances, or offer strange explanations as to why your loved one is experiencing financial hardship. If you notice any unusual behavior, make note of it, and speak to your loved one.

Speak to a Washington Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

If your loved one is experiencing trust fund abuse, you can report the facility to the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS). Your loved one could also file a lawsuit against the at-fault employee and the facility for violating the terms of the trust and misappropriating his or her finances.

In these situations, it is important to seek the help of a nursing home abuse lawyer who can represent your loved one’s claim and secure the outcome he or she deserves. Contact a nursing home attorney as soon as possible to discuss your family’s next steps.