Generations at Applewood
Most instances of abuse and neglect in nursing homes are physical or emotional, putting residents at risk for injury, illness, or mental distress. Less common, but still possible, is financial abuse and exploitation. This occurs when staff members take advantage of access to a resident’s financial information, funds, or other valuables or otherwise mishandle a resident’s finances without consent.
There are many ways nursing home staff can financially abuse vulnerable residents. They can access confidential information to steal a resident’s identity and open lines of credit in the resident’s name. They can make unauthorized withdrawals from a resident’s bank account or make false charges to the resident’s account in the name of the nursing home and take the money for themselves. Cashing a resident’s check without permission or forging a resident’s signature are not unheard of.
Sometimes financial abuse is as simple as stealing money or valuables from a resident’s room. In nursing home settings, many different caregivers have access to residents’ rooms, so it would not be difficult for an unscrupulous individual to sneak money or jewelry out of a resident’s drawer or wallet. There have even been reports of residents slipping rings off sleeping resident’s fingers! Stealing is especially simple when elderly residents have poor cognitive performance or memory, so nursing homes unfortunately offer easy pickings for thieving staff.
While family members can take steps to secure a loved one’s funds and valuables to discourage and prevent theft and exploitation, it is always better for such attempts to not happen at all. Nursing homes have the responsibility to prevent all types of abuse, including financial, by hiring properly vetted employees and putting appropriate policies and consequences in place, but it’s up to families to place their relative in a residence that follows these practices.
The tricky part is, however, knowing which nursing homes are responsible and which ones are more lax. That’s why Levin & Perconti wants to help you. As nursing home abuse lawyers, we’ve noticed that facilities with the highest Medicare ratings and cleanest health inspection reports tend to follow best practices that discourage abusive behavior and provide higher quality care to their residents. It is these facilities that you should look at when picking a nursing home for a family member.
To help you find these better care facilities, Levin & Perconti shares information from medicare.org on our website for individual Illinois nursing homes, such as Generations at Applewood, so you have one more resource for comparing the facilities in your area. We also share tips on how to protect your loved one once they move into assisted living. We hope this information helps you prevent the tragedy of nursing home abuse from touching your family.
About Generations at Applewood
21020 Kostner Avenue
Matteson, IL 60443
Generations at Applewood is a large rehabilitation and post-acute care facility with 115 beds. Generations at Applewood offers long- and short-term care, dementia care, short-term rehabilitation, palliative care and hospice services, and more.
Medicare gives Generations at Applewood a disappointing Below Average rating overall, due to its Average quality measures rating, Below Average staffing rating, and Below Average health inspection rating.
It’s important to get a closer look at any facility you’re considering by also reading available health inspection reports. Below is a sample of the deficiencies found at Generations at Applewood.
3/8/2018 Failure to honor the resident’s right to share a room with spouse or roommate of choice and receive written notice before a change is made. The facility failed to give two residents advance notice about an immediate room change and failed to give advance notice that a roommate would be added. The resident who was moved was upset to be moved to a new room without any advance warning or explanation. Staff said they had spoken to the resident’s family member and received consent, despite the fact that the resident is able to speak for herself.
3/8/2018 Failure to develop the complete care plan within 7 days of the comprehensive assessment; and prepared, reviewed, and revised by a team of health professionals. The facility failed to revise a care plan to address falls for two residents. One resident had 25 falls in less than a year, but their care plan had no documentation of goals or interventions to address the falls. A second resident had 16 documented falls in less than a year, but their care plan had not been updated to address these.
3/8/2018 Failure to provide safe and appropriate respiratory care for a resident when needed. Staff failed to maintain a resident’s suction equipment in a sanitary manner to prevent potential contamination. The suction machine was observed as being dirty with dried particles and brown standing liquid in the tubing.
3/8/2018 Failure to provide and implement an infection prevention and control program. The facility failed to follow their policy on cleaning isolated rooms, putting all residents at risk of contracting an infection. A housekeeper failed to change a mop head and water after cleaning a resident’s room that was under contact isolation.
Protecting Nursing Home Residents from Financial Abuse
The best way to protect someone in assisted living from abuse is to choose a facility that makes hiring qualified staff and following safety protocols and policies a top priority. Additionally, you can work with family members to protect a relative in assisted living from theft and financial exploitation.
If it hasn’t been done yet, your family should agree on a member to hold power of attorney and be responsible for your relative’s finances. This person should familiarize themselves with your relative’s accounts and assets and work with their financial institutions to secure those accounts and set up alerts as to any suspicious activity so if a problem arises it can be caught and dealt with quickly.
Do not entrust your relative’s nursing home with any financial obligations such as paying bills or managing a trust fund for them. That will only put your relative at higher risk of having their personal information compromised. Set up as many automatic banking services as possible or handle other financial responsibilities within the family so nursing home staff do not have access to your relative’s funds.
Work with your relative to determine how to keep money and valuables they want with them safe in their room. This might include devising a system to track how much physical money they have on them, finding a hiding spot for their cash, or limiting how many valuables they keep with them. Depending on their cognitive abilities, you may have to consider keeping their credit cards and checkbook with you so they cannot be tricked into giving caregivers money. Most importantly, visit often, as this alone is known to greatly reduce the risk of any type of abuse.
At all times, be sensitive to your relative’s feelings and wishes and communicate with them as much as possible to determine how to handle their money in a safe but respectful way. It can be difficult for a nursing home resident to lose control of their money and valuables, but you must do all you can to protect them from manipulative staff.
Reporting Financial Abuse
There are many ways to financially exploit a vulnerable senior so you must stay vigilant. To most effectively protect a nursing home resident from financial abuse, you must know how to spot and speak up about anything that looks wrong. This means you should be aware of the signs of financial exploitation. While any unusual activity can be a red flag, here are the most common ones to watch for:
- Unexplained transfer of money or other assets to another individual, especially someone who is not a friend or family member
- Sudden changes in your relative’s will or other financial documents
- Checks written to a particular financial professional or caregiver
- Sudden changes in banking habits or funds, such as unexpected withdrawals by another individual or
- Personal belongings, especially cash, checks, or credit cards, going missing
- Sudden reluctant or defensive behavior from your relative when you talk about their finances
- Your relative’s signature being forged for titles of possessions or financial transactions
Suspected financial abuse–or abuse of any kind–should be dealt with immediately. If you believe someone has breached your loved one’s bank accounts, gather all evidence and alert the bank immediately. All suspected abuse should also be reported to the nursing home, preferably to someone with authority over staff such as a staff supervisor or the facility administrator.
Every nursing home is required to have a procedure in place for reporting abuse and grievances on behalf of residents. You should follow this procedure for reporting abuse and hold the nursing home responsible for following it too. By law, they must investigate, report, and prevent abuse of all residents. If you feel your loved one’s nursing home is not following their own procedure effectively enough to remove them from danger, ask a doctor, your long-term care ombudsman, or the state licensing agency for help.
Because nursing homes have a legal responsibility to prevent and appropriately handle all kinds of abuse, including financial abuse, many people may resort to using the law to seek restitution for the harm they or a family member have suffered at a negligent nursing home. If you are interested in going this route, you will need advice and representation from nursing home abuse law experts, such as the attorneys at Levin & Perconti.
Levin & Perconti Can Help
As nationally recognized leaders in nursing home and elder abuse law, Levin & Perconti has handled hundreds of cases of nursing home abuse.
If you or a family member have suffered abuse and neglect at Generations at Applewood or another Illinois nursing home, Levin & Perconti are here to help. Our experienced nursing home abuse attorneys will fight for your rights and help you seek the resolution you deserve. To date, we’ve won millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for our clients and can win for you too. Get started today by clicking or calling Levin & Perconti at 888-424-5757 for a free consultation.
Disclaimer: The above health inspection findings are taken from public records kept and published by Medicare and the state of Illinois and are not complete. Levin & Perconti cannot confirm that this page’s content includes the latest information available. Any corrections or additions made to these public records after publication of this page will not be found here. For the most up-to-date information, visit www.il.gov or medicare.gov. This page is a legal advertisement and informational resource for visitors and is not endorsed by the named facility or any government agency. Levin & Perconti does not have any affiliation with the named facility.
Not only were they so professional but also so caring and thoughtful. It was very difficult going over the facts in our mother's case but they were so compassionate and understanding and allowed us to be with them every step of the way. We were able to sit in on the depositions and we were really able to see how hard they worked on our behalf.