Nursing home theft is a common issue, and not widely discussed or reported. It’s one of the many ways someone can experience financial abuse while in a care facility. Whether it’s sentimental items such as pictures, gifts, or other mementos, or glasses, dentures, hearing aids, or warm clothing and blankets, the loss of these personal items can lead to distress for the resident as well as a decline in their quality of life. Stealing money or jewelry is even more financially damaging.
If your loved one has experienced property or other losses, they depend on you to stand up for them and find a resolution. Nursing homes are responsible for a resident’s well-being, and that includes their personal property.
Items that frequently turn up missing in nursing homes are personal items, including:
• Hearing aids
• Identity cards and documents
These losses may be due to mismanagement of personal property at the facility, or outright theft by one or more individuals, either visiting family members, other visitors to the facility, or dishonest employees. Questioning the staff frequently gets no satisfactory answers.
Misappropriation And Fraud
Misappropriation is when a worker takes a resident’s personal property and refuses to return it to them under the guise of “authority.” Fraud encompasses similar behavior, as well as excess billing for services, and other financial abuses. Employees cannot seize or withhold a resident’s property without the proper authority, such as removing jewelry for an X-ray or other medical procedure.
These actions can also include taking or hiding a resident’s cell phone and refusing to let them have it or use it, taking their property and locking it up, or using a resident’s debit or credit card without consent. This can also include lying to a resident about their rights including property rights while living in the nursing home.
When It Is Not Theft
Sometimes property may not be stolen but misplaced. In some cases, the elderly may have cognitive conditions such as dementia and not understand that their valuables are at home with their spouse, children, or other relatives for safekeeping. Or their property may have been placed in a safe at the facility by an administrator. Property may also be lost, displaced, or taken by another resident who mistakes something for their own. You will want to differentiate between outright theft versus mishandling. Regardless, if things continue to be mishandled, you may need to take steps to safeguard items and continue to hold the nursing facility responsible.
Technology Can Help With Theft in Nursing Homes
Technology can help with keeping things from being lost or stolen. For example, Apple Air Tags are a small and discreet way to keep tabs on personal property that can be lost or stolen. An Amazon Alexa device can also let you see what’s happening in your loved one’s room, with two-way communication. Small, hidden surveillance cameras, sometimes called “granny cams,” such as Ring cameras, are also an option for seeing activity when you’re not around. West Virginia does not have specific laws regarding video cameras in nursing homes, but it does have laws regulating the conditions under which another person may be legally recorded.
Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer In Charleston, WV
If you are concerned that your loved one may be a victim of nursing home theft, financial abuse, or any other nursing home abuse or negligence, you can get justice for them. Because a lawsuit against a nursing home can be complicated, it’s important to hire Chad Love, an attorney who understands the complexities of such a case. Contact The Love Law Firm today at (304) 344-5683 for a free consultation. We’ve helped thousands of West Virginians fight for their loved ones in nursing homes, and we’re ready to fight for yours too.