Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Lock it or lose it!

In keeping with the theme of prevention of abuse something that families can do to curb financial exploitation of a resident being moved to an assisted living center is to purchase and install a lockable cabinet for valuables and money before they move in. Most assisted living centers do not have lockable storage in the apartments. The container needs to be bolted to a drawer in a dresser or to a cabinet. There should be two keys, one for the resident and one for a family member. Keep a record of items and dates when things are put in and taken out of the locked valuables box. I have numerous examples where money, jewelry, and valuables have been taken from residents. Seldom are the valuables recovered. Most facilities reveal in their resident handbook or facility rules book that they are not responsible for valuables that disappear. The best plan is to prevent theft before it happens. The turnover as a whole is high in assisted living centers and boarding homes. Although facilities are required to complete background checks on all persons having unsupervised access to residents, this does not prevent theft. If theft does occur report it immediately to the administrator of the building, not anyone else. The administrator is responsible to conduct an investigation and put policies in place to see that theft does not occur. Also, for the state of Washington the Complaint Resolution Unit (CRU) is supposed to receive a report about the allegation of theft from the facility.

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