sagnika sinha, 2 days ago
It’s never an easy choice to put a loved one in a nursing home. Choosing the right facility takes time, money, and a lot of research. Moving a beloved senior into a nursing home takes an incredible amount of trust. You’re relying on strangers to treat your close friend or family member with the same loving care you’d give them yourself. Or at least, you hope so — but sometimes, that’s just not the case.
Some care facilities can be neglectful and even downright dangerous. There could even be abuse taking place right under your nose. Elder abuse in nursing homes can be physical, emotional, financial, or any combination of the three. But no matter what type of abuse occurs, there are serious financial consequences alongside physical and/or emotional ones. Here are some of the ways nursing home abuse can financially impact the victim and you.
1. Legal Expenses
If you find out your loved one is or was being abused at a nursing home, you’ll almost certainly need to take legal action. You may be able to file a lawsuit for malpractice, personal injury, or wrongful death.
To do so, you’ll want to collect as much evidence as you can so you have sufficient proof to make a claim. This could include photos of injuries to document physical abuse or statements by your loved one regarding any emotional or physical abuse. It might also include evidence of financial abuse, like unexpected bank transactions, changes to their will, or mortgage applications using their information.
This gathering of evidence can cost you time away from work, which is an expense in and of itself. Then you need to hire a lawyer, which can also get very costly. The good news is, the right nursing home abuse lawyer could win you a large settlement. And many firms are structured so that you only pay if you win the case. It’s important to choose a trustworthy legal team so that you get back more than you pay.
If your elderly relative or friend was physically or mentally abused at a nursing home, they may need follow-up medical care. They could need treatment — or even surgery — for injuries and pain medication as well. They might also require care from a therapist to process trauma or get medication for their mental health.
Medicare or insurance might cover some but not all of these expenses. And these payors won’t necessarily let you choose the medications, procedures, or providers that are right for your loved one. Medical bills in the United States can get extremely costly. Average medical expenses in the last 12 months of life are nearly $60,000.
Furthermore, you may need to consider hidden costs like transportation to and from medical facilities or providers’ offices. And once again, there’s all that time you have to take off work in order to care for the elder in your life. All of this is in addition to what you already paid the facility that was supposed to be providing care.
You may well decide to move your loved one into another nursing home and this could thus incur a lot of unexpected costs. If you’re still under contract with the abusive facility, they may continue to bill you or charge a termination fee.
It’s not unlikely that you’ll choose a pricier facility in the hope that you can trust more in its level of care and maintenance. You could end up paying application or initiation fees or a down payment or deposit for the new nursing home. No matter what, you’ll have to cover moving expenses like transporting belongings and furniture.
You might also decide you’re not willing to take the risk on another care facility. In that case, your loved one could move back into their old home or into yours. You could end up paying for home health aides or in-home doctor or nursing visits. You could also foot the bill for a hospital bed, stair lifts, ramps, other accessibility modifications, and medical supplies. If you’re eligible to become a paid caregiver, you could get paid for some of your time. But you’ll still need to cover things like food, entertainment, and companionship or activity costs.
The aforementioned costs could stem from any type of elder abuse. But if your loved one suffered from financial abuse specifically, then there could be even higher costs. Financial abuse occurs when someone — in this case, a nursing home employee — takes financial advantage of an elderly person. This can involve stealing their cash, credit cards, or personal belongings. It can also mean using their personal details to apply for loans or mortgages.
Nursing home abuse can also happen when a facility employee ingratiates themselves with a resident. The resident develops an emotional relationship with the employee and may include them in a will or sign over assets. In serious cases, they could end up losing real estate or other significant sources of wealth.
So if a beloved elder has suffered financial abuse, the costs could be high indeed. In addition to the above, you could end up paying to replace the missing property or be unable to recover stolen funds. The nursing home may have overcharged or billed you for services that weren’t performed, and you might not get these funds back, either.
The costs of nursing home care are high, and they’re even more so when abuse is involved. That’s why it’s important to really do your research before choosing a facility for a loved one. If you do suspect you’ve made the wrong choice, start documenting signs of negligence or abuse as early as possible. Call a lawyer, and start preparing to take substantial time off from work. Whatever you do, though, don’t give up — you and your beloved senior deserve better.