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What You Should Know about Theft in Nursing Homes

By Walton Law APCJanuary 1, 2021March 4th, 2023No Comments

It’s never an easy decision to place your loved one into a nursing home. And it certainly isn’t easy for an individual to make the transition from living at home to living in a new setting. However, in the sea of new faces and different furniture and walls, a few well-placed keep sakes can help an unfamiliar setting feel more like home. So, you decide to make sure that you’ve packed Mom’s favorite jewelry and picture frames when she moves into her new nursing home. Then you’re dismayed when you discover that her items have disappeared. Your mom’s things were taken from her room. Unfortunately, theft in nursing homes is a common problem. Read on to learn about information about nursing home theft and guidance on how to deal with this issue.

Common Types of Property that Go Missing in Nursing Homes

Obviously, any object can be taken from the nursing home. However, there are certain items that are more likely to be reported missing. They include the following:

  • Clothes
  • Dentures
  • Eyeglasses
  • Hearing aids
  • Identity documents
  • Jewelry

 Reporting Theft to the Nursing Home Staff

If you suspect that your loved one’s belongings are being stolen, then you should take the time to report this to the staff.  However, you should be cautious about this especially because a patient’s mental state may be a factor. For instance, many nursing home residents experience illnesses like dementia, so there might be confusion as to whether or not they are truly victims of theft.

Signs of Abuse

Another thing to keep in mind when dealing with nursing home theft is that it may signal other forms of abuse or neglect. For instance, if a resident’s underwear is missing, this could be a sign of sexual abuse. Or a predator may target a resident first by stealing inanimate objects and then move on to identity theft.

 Problems with Identifying Fault

Even if a resident is truly a victim of theft, sometimes it’s difficult to ascertain the culprit and to determine the person who violated their property rights. For instance, if a staff member is accused, they might blame another resident. The resident then points the finger at the janitor, and so forth. Without eyewitnesses and other evidence, families worry about whether they can hold the nursing home liable. These issues can be complex and will depend on several factors, including the specific facts of the case, the resident’s admissions contract and waivers, and other details.

Help Protect Your Loved One and their Belongings

Even when you’ve made the effort to label their things and to take an inventory, sometimes theft occurs. While stealing a resident’s belongings isn’t as egregious as abuse, it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Sometimes it can even signal even more intense violations such as fraud and physical abuse. If you think that your loved one was a victim of theft in their nursing home, talk to the skilled lawyers at Walton Law, who can help hold the facility accountable. Get in contact today.

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