As a convenience for residents and their families, most skilled nursing and rehab centers offer the option of setting up a financial account for in-house expenses. They can be used for the resident beauty shop, outings, and miscellaneous kinds of expenses. These accounts are commonly referred to as resident trust funds. In recent months, however, media concerns have been raised about how safe these funds are. Some providers have poorly managed these accounts and others have had employees steal from them.
What should families of older adults in a nursing home know about resident trust funds?
- Your loved one isn’t required to set one up. Families often do not realize that they are not obligated to set up an account for their loved one. It is a convenience. Nursing homes are prohibited from requiring new residents – no matter what their payment source is – have a trust fund account.
- The money still belongs to your family member. This is another source of confusion for residents and their families. When you deposit money in to this account for your loved one to use, the resident or a guardian/power of attorney are the only ones that can designate what these monies are spent on. It is still your loved one’s money, not the nursing home.
- Ask about internal audits. Most nursing homes have a process of conducting internal audits of resident trust funds. Ask when those are done and let the staff know you that you want to see the results.
- What measures do they have to guard resident trust funds? Ask the Administrator or Executive Director for a written copy of their procedures and policies that govern resident trust funds. Do employees who have access undergo a background check? Are they bonded? Does the nursing home have any insurance or surety bonds that cover the loss in cases of employee theft?
- When the resident moves or passes away. If your loved one moves to another nursing home or passes away, the nursing home has 30 days to surrender the remaining funds to the resident or their estate’s executor.
Have you set up a resident trust fund?
Want more information? Contact ACM Care today at 877.323.5916!