Generations at Neighbors
Everyone is at risk of identity theft these days. Devious wrongdoers across the world steal confidential information and use it to open fraudulent lines of credit in someone else’s name and rack up thousands of dollars of debt without anyone knowing until it’s too late. And unfortunately, on top of all the other things the families of nursing home residents have to worry about, identity theft is now found in assisted living facilities too.
Senior citizens have long been a target of financial scammers, but now even the most vulnerable of seniors are falling victim to identity theft in the supposed safety of nursing homes. What may be more upsetting is that often the perpetrators are nursing home staff themselves, the very people tasked with caring for their victims.
Nursing homes often have confidential financial and personal information on file for their residents. If they do not have proper security in place or unscrupulous employees abuse their authority to access that information, it is easy for staff to steal that information and use it themselves or sell it to others.
While always wrong and illegal, this kind of theft and violation of trust on the part of designated caregivers against dependent persons is considered financial abuse and can be very harmful to victims. Besides causing everything from a huge inconvenience to financial ruin for residents and their families when creditors begin contacting them, identity theft has an emotionally damaging impact on residents who may feel embarrassed, stressed, angry, taken advantage of, or violated.
Nursing homes have a legal obligation to prevent, investigate, and report all forms of abuse of residents, including identity theft. However, families can do their part too in protecting loved ones in assisted living by placing them in trustworthy facilities who subscribe to proper employee vetting, training, and disciplining procedures. The trick is knowing what nursing homes can be trusted.
Levin & Perconti has seen the worst of nursing homes and the best. We’ve learned that the safest nursing homes are usually the ones with the highest Medicare ratings and cleanest health inspection reports. For that reason, we share the information published on medicare.org on our own site so families and individuals like you can easily learn more about the nursing homes in your area and select only the best of the best.
We are also happy to offer tips about protecting loved ones from abuse in nursing homes. We hope this information helps you find a safe residence for your family members and save them and you from the heartache of nursing home financial abuse.
About Generations at Neighbors
811 West 2nd Street
Byron, IL 61010
Generations at Neighbors is a large facility with 131 beds. They offer skilled nursing, memory care, rehabilitation, palliative care and hospice services, respiratory care, and more for both long- and short-term residents.
Medicare gives Generations at Neighbors a disappointing Below Average overall rating. It also received the same Below Average rating for the three categories of health inspections, staffing, and quality measures.
The health inspection reports on medicare.org can give further details about life at a nursing home, especially those with poor ratings. Below is a sample of the deficiencies found at Generations at Neighbors.
9/20/2018 Failure to honor the resident’s right to and the facility must promote and facilitate resident self-determination through support of resident choice. The facility failed to assess and honor a resident’s food choice. The resident’s wife stated that her husband hardly eats any food provided by the facility because the food is often cold and they have not accommodated his food preferences. A dietary manager stated he was not aware of the resident’s food preferences as they were not documented.
9/20/2018 Failure to provide appropriate pressure ulcer care and prevent new ulcers from developing. Staff failed to identify an area of pressure on a resident and prevent the development of a pressure injury. The resident developed a pressure wound on her heel. The facility only began using interventions to relieve pressure after the wound developed, and even then they did so inconsistently.
9/20/2018 Failure to ensure that a nursing home area is free from accident hazards and provides adequate supervision to prevent accidents. The facility failed to provide for the safety of the residents on the dementia care unit while taking their medications. A resident was observed eating her breakfast with a cup of her medications on the table beside her. Three other residents were observed in the same room. The nurse dispensing medication left the room, leaving all four dementia patients unsupervised with the first resident’s medication in reach, putting the other three at risk of taking the medication on accident.
Protecting Nursing Home Residents from Financial Abuse
If you are concerned about how to protect a loved one from financial abuse in assisted living, your best bet is to find them a highly rated, qualified facility that follows best practices for vetting employees and enforcing anti-abuse protocols. You can do this with diligent research into the nursing homes in your community by learning about them online and taking tours of each facility before picking the best one for your relative.
Once they move in, however, you aren’t off the hook. It only takes one unscrupulous individual to victimize the residents of an otherwise fantastic nursing home. Therefore, you should always be on the lookout for financial abuse in your loved one’s nursing home. It can come in many forms, so stay aware of any sudden changes in your relative’s accounts or assets.
It is helpful to assign a trusted family member power of attorney or the responsibility to supervise your senior relative’s finances when they enter assisted living. That way there is always someone keeping an eye on things and managing your relative’s financial obligations, so they do not have to do it alone or rely on strangers in their nursing home to do so. To simplify things for your family, work with your relative’s bank to set up automatic bill payments, direct deposits, and security alerts. This makes your job easier but also increases financial security.
Once things are straightened away with the bank, have an honest discussion with your loved one about how to protect themselves and their valuables in the nursing home. Some elderly nursing home residents have a decreased mental capacity and can be easily manipulated. Talk to your family member about not talking about money to caregivers, not signing anything without a family member present, and not giving out gifts.
You should also agree with your loved one about how much money and what valuables to keep with them and how to keep those things safe in their room. Be sensitive to their feelings–it’s difficult to feel the loss of control of one’s money and possessions–but also help them understand the unnecessary risk they create when they keep a great amount of money or other tempting items in such an unsecured place as their nursing home room. It may help if you offer to hold onto things for them and bring those items to enjoy on your visits. For the things they do keep with them, find a place to hid them in their room that only family and your relative know about.
Perhaps the biggest thing you can do to protect a loved one from any form of abuse in nursing homes is to visit often. This helps them stay alert, communicates to preying staff that you’re attentive to your relative, and gives you frequent chances to check on your relative and their personal belongings.
Reporting Financial Abuse
Frequent visits help prevent abuse, but they also help you recognize it and know whom to report it to. If you ever detect financial exploitation or theft while your family member is in assisted living care, you have the right to report it and have it investigated and resolved immediately.
Nursing homes are required to have established and clearly communicated procedures for residents or their representatives to submit grievances, such as in cases of abuse. Follow this procedure to submit a grievance about any abuse you suspect at your relative’s nursing home, and notify someone with authority at the facility such as a staff supervisor or the facility administrator so they can take immediate action. They should have a plan in place to investigate any abuse claims and report the abuse to the proper authorities, as well as prevent further abuse from happening.
Unfortunately, abuse often stems from poor management, so stay in contact with the nursing home to keep tabs on how they’re handling your concerns. If you find they are failing in their responsibilities to thoroughly investigate, report, and rectify the abuse, you may need to seek outside help such as from a doctor, long-term care ombudsman, or state licensing agency.
Nursing homes have a legal obligation to prevent and report all kinds of abuse, so if your relative’s nursing home has failed to protect them from financial exploitation or other abuse, you may be justified in seeking restitution through the justice system. If you do this, your best chance lies in retaining expert representation from nursing home abuse law attorneys like Levin & Perconti.
Levin & Perconti Can Help
Levin & Perconti believes that nursing home abuse is far too common. Our attorneys have personally handled hundreds of cases of nursing home abuse and neglect.
If you or a loved one have suffered abuse at an Illinois nursing home, know that you are not alone. Levin & Perconti are on your side and will make sure you get your day in court and be heard. We have the expertise you need to handle your nursing home abuse case and win, just like we have for hundreds of other clients. If you are ready to get the help you need, click or call Levin & Perconti at 888-424-5757 today for a free consultation. We are awaiting your call.
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.