When considering misconduct and abuse of power at nursing homes, most residents and their families worry about physical abuse and neglect. Far too many have been forced to deal with a senior loved one’s untimely death or serious injury which could have been prevented if caregivers had simply done their job up to reasonable standards.
Yet lurking on top of the persistent threat of neglect is also the risk that those paid to provide care will intentionally abuse their position for financial gain. Trust is at the center of the resident-nursing home relationship. That is why stories like one coming out of Champaign are maddening–a reminder that all those involved in nursing home care administration, if they choose, can cause serious damage to those who count of them.
Systematic Senior Financial Exploitation
As reported by McKnights, a former administrator for the large nursing home chain HCR ManorCare was arrested in Champaign, Illinois recently on a dozen criminal counts, including theft, forgery, and financial exploitation of the elderly. The charges stem from alleged conduct which resulting in over $100,000 being taken from nursing home residents
All told, according to reports, over a four and a half year period the woman in question was in charge of bookkeeping for the a 102-bed long-term care facility in the area. During that time she used her role to steal the funds from 18 different residents, more than a hundred thousand dollars.
The central Illinois detective who worked on the case explained the alleged-criminal’s common modus operandi, noting, “She was making false entries into the books and physically writing checks to herself. She was the authorized signer on the account, and in some cases, she was forging the signatures of other employees who were authorized signers.”
It remains unclear if those who were the victims of the theft will receive any of their funds back. In many cases of a similar nature, the money is long gone by the time that the misdeeds are uncovered–leading the senior to struggle to recover financially. That is why it is important to take reasonable steps to prevent such crimes before they actually occur.
Proper Hiring Decisions
As this sad case demonstrates, because of the setting, virtually anyone working in long-term care facilities can use their position to cause immense harm–physical, emotional, mental, or financial–on the residents who count on their proper care.
For this reason it is absolutely critical that nursing homes make employment choices very carefully. It is not enough to simply hire anyone and place them in these settings without clearly understanding their risk of using the situation to their own advantage. In most cases when an employee in these positions abuses their position or acts negligently the facility itself may bear some responsibility.
The attorneys at our firm have worked on cases of this nature for decades. We understand the immense anger and sadness that comes with trust placed with a facility is broken with serious results. Contact our office to learn more about your legal rights if this has happened to you.
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