Residents of nursing homes and their families should look for ways to safeguard the money held in the home's trust funds which can be stolen or mismanaged
The money kept in nursing home "trust funds" can be mismanaged or even stolen, a USA TODAY investigation shows. Here are five ways to make sure the money is safe:
• Watch quarterly statements: All nursing home residents who keep money in a trust fund maintained by the facility should get quarterly statements. Read the statements and watch for unexpected or unexplained charges.
• Ask how funds are managed: Find out if the nursing home performs audits on resident trust funds. If so, ask how often and whether the audits are available to patients and their family or guardians.
• Check the nursing home's record: See if state or federal regulators have cited the facility for thefts or for mismanaging resident trust funds. "Deficiencies" can include failing to provide account statements, not paying interest, or not insuring the funds.
• Ask the resident to check all expenditures listed on the trust fund statements, and make sure he or she can access money whenever needed.
• Check for interest: Residents' funds are supposed to be held in interest-bearing accounts. Check quarterly statements to be sure interest is being paid.