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Possible Care Home Fraud

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Nessa456, Aug 3, 2015.

  1. Nessa456

    Nessa456 Registered User

    Nov 19, 2004
    West Midlands
    I wanted to gain other peoples' opinions regarding a situation that has arisen at my father's nursing care home, which is a specialist one for dementia.

    My father is 81 and he is in the mid to early late stage of Alzheimers. He can walk around but he is doubly incontinent and doesn't know who we are when we visit. When he talks it often doesn't make much sense but when you ask him a question he does appear to understand but can't pick up the conversational thread and continue with it.

    At the end of April this year we visited my Dad at the home and took in some money to top up his patient expenses account and I had a copy of the home's Spring/Summer Event Planner 2015 which had been posted to me, on which I ticked the trips I wanted my Dad to go on - mainly free trips out locally and a paid trip to Weston Supermare on 15th July. I put a cross alongside the 3 trips I didn't want him to attend, which included a paid trip to Blackpool in August.

    I asked the staff member who took the expenses top-up money for a copy of the updated expenses record sheet and a copy of the event planner with my selections on it. This staff member is a 'Wellbeing team Advisor'. This team oversees people going on trips and does activities in the home too.

    My brother visited my Dad on Sunday 5th and Monday 6th July when he was over here from Germany where he lives. He handed over £100 to top up my Dad's expenses account, so that there would be enough to fund the £45 cost of the Weston Supermare trip. He gave the money to another member for the Wellbeing/Activities team and she gave him a written receipt.

    On Wed 29th July I received a phone call from my Dad's care home from a member of admin staff wanting my address so they could send a letter out. This alone surprised and annoyed me as the home regularly sends out letters to me so they definitely have my address already. I gave the person the address and then asked how my Dad got on with his trip to Weston Supermare. She said she'd need to transfer me to the nurse's office to find out this information. The nurse manager who I then spoke to said my Dad hadn't gone on the Weston trip but would be going on the Blackpool trip instead! I said why didn't he go and she said she wasn't sure and I said I'd specifically marked on the event planer that I didn't want him to go on the Blackpool trip. She said they'd recently had a new Activities/Wellbeing team Leader, as if by way of explanation and I said but surely the Event Planner with my selections on it would just go on my Dad's file which would be handed over. As usual she wasn't interested in even looking in my Dad's care file to see if he had been ill on that day - this is the usual way things go - they either have zero initiative or inclination to do anything outside the basic remit.

    I then tried to get hold of the care home manager - something I've never succeeded in doing so so as they're never available or you get diverted onto someone else. The admin lady I spoke to said she would put me through to the care homes owner but this never happened as, as usual, she diverted me to someone else.

    I was called by the Team Leader of the Wellbeing/Activities team at the other care home run by the same owner/company. She used to work at my Dad's home but now seems to go back and forth between the two as needed. She said she had been asked by the owner to investigate what had happened. I asked for a scanned & emailed copy of my Dad's Expenses record sheet - the 'Patient Savings Account Record', as I wanted to see whether any money had been taken for the Weston trip my Dad never went on.

    I didn't receive this copy of the expenses record until the Friday 7th July and this was only after pressing the point and it wasn't even a scanned copy, but 2 photos taken of the 2 latest sheets with her mobile phone. She said on Friday that she could find no reference on the sheet to a payment in of £45 for the trip. I said my brother wouldn't have paid in just £45 - he would have probably paid in a larger amount.
    She said the last payment in was £100 on 18th July - I said this was clearly the money handed over by my brother on 6th July. That payment is initialled with the Wellbeing team Leader's initials only, with no initialling by the person who actually received the money from my brother.

    I was by now getting extremely frustrated by the lack of initiative/brainpower/concern from any of the staff and the fact that neither the owner, care home manager or wellbeing/activities team leader had bothered to phone me. I finally received an email from the home manager on the Friday 31st July, offering two possible dates to meet this week, after I'd told the person doing the investigation that they should suggest some dates when she said they'd offered to meet with me. I arranged to attend a meeting with the care manager and wellbeing team leader

    I tried to contact the 2 wellbeing team staff who a) took the event planner selections list off me and b) took the £100 off my brother the one who took the money is on A/L until 17th August and the event list one phoned in sick yesterday

    I have Asperger's Syndrome and will be the first to admit that I am a very systematic and exacting person and I have great difficulty accepting how people are vs how i would like them to be. I have done various admin jobs in the past myself though, including managing petty cash and the way things have been handled by the home really concerns me in terms of how slack their money handling and recording system is, which leaves them wide open to accusations of fraud and how ineffective their system is for recording which trips residents want to go on.

    I wanted feedback re what other people think of the situation and any suggestions/advice.
  2. Jessbow

    Jessbow Registered User

    My only suggestion- without looking at the ins and outs in minute detail, is to transfer money direct to their account, no handing over £ notes to anyone. My mothers nursing home had a standing order system. I paid \(I think it was ) £20 PER MONTH EVERY MONTH.

    Perhaps the WSM trip was cancelled .
  3. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    I can't see any evidence of fraud here, after all they gave your brother a receipt for his £100 and recorded it. They have also provided you with copies and offered dates for a meeting.

    They seem to be a bit chaotic in handling documentation and they are not very good communication-wise which I agree is very frustrating. I myself hate having to chase people and don't understand why things have to go wrong but well they do and maybe there is a perfectly simple explanation why he didn't go on that trip.

    OH goes to a great day centre, the people are lovely and dedicated, but their admin is often a mess so I have to be on the ball about when lunch money is due (you can't do a standing order), and sometimes they send him home in clothes that aren't his. But they look after him beautifully so I am trying to be a bit more relaxed about things like this.

    Go into the meeting with an open mind and agree on a way forward to handle things like this in future. People usually don't keep you in the loop unless you expressly ask them to.
  4. jaymor

    jaymor Volunteer Moderator

    Jul 14, 2006
    I hand a cheque in and receive a receipt there and then. I do from time to time ask for a printout and that comes straight off the computer. Nothing complicated at all.

    Why does the money have to go to the activity team? The easiest way would be for it to go through administration and then the activity team to request funds as and when required.
  5. Pete R

    Pete R Registered User

    Jul 26, 2014
    I would write down all the questions you have and ask them at the meeting. Hopefully you will get the answers there that you need.

    Good luck.:)
  6. Nessa456

    Nessa456 Registered User

    Nov 19, 2004
    West Midlands
    Hi Jessbow

    I have asked about direct payments in the past but they've said they prefer to deal in cash but I will definitely ask again at the meeting.

    No one has said the WSM trip was cancelled but then I've yet to speak to any of the Wellbeing Team based at my Dad's care home so it's a possibility that this fact hasn't been passed on.

    I only found out yesterday, via the nurse manager, that they hire a minibus for these trips and can only take 4 residents from each home on each trip. So this means that a person who is due to go on a trip could potentially not go if there are too many residents wanting to go. If that's the case though I would expect them to at least let me know.

    She also told me they are planning on hiring two minibuses for trips in the short term and longer term to buy 2 minibuses. Then there is another problem with there being a shortage of people able/available to drive the minibus.

    All this information comes out after a certain amount of questioning - it's never offered upfront.
  7. Nessa456

    Nessa456 Registered User

    Nov 19, 2004
    West Midlands
    Hi Beate

    If my brother handed over the £100 on 6th July but it wasn't recorded on the my Dad's Patient Savings Account record sheet until 18th July, it begs the question where was the money in the interim of nearly 2 weeks?

    I will see what they say about this at the meeting
  8. Nessa456

    Nessa456 Registered User

    Nov 19, 2004
    West Midlands
    Hi Jaymor

    If I hand in money in the Activity/Wellbeing Team's office they will just write out a receipt there and then and will bring me a copy of the record sheet if I ask for one but that's only if their office is open - they are usually out or doing other stuff with residents. They seem to make a meal of even getting the copy done ie it's not done while I'm there so they must have to do it in another office.

    The Activity/Wellbeing team seem to oversee the handling of the money at the care home as the admin staff are mainly located at the other care home. It would be a
    lot easier if there was an admin person there all the time who dealt with it all.
  9. Nessa456

    Nessa456 Registered User

    Nov 19, 2004
    West Midlands

    Hi Pete R

    Thanks, I intend to ask them a lot of questions and make suggestions for how to improve their administration systems.

    I fear they might not have the answers as I suspect they aren't asking the right questions of the relevant staff or can't ask them due to them being on A/L or off sick

    I hate being subject to a badly designed and run system but having no control over it
  10. Sue J

    Sue J Registered User

    Dec 9, 2009
    Maybe it was in a petty cash tin with a note saying it was your Dad's to be logged onto his account when updating records? Just a thought:)
  11. Nessa456

    Nessa456 Registered User

    Nov 19, 2004
    West Midlands
    Hi Sue

    yes, that's a possibility, but the person who took the money off my brother is a member of the Wellbeing/Acitivities team herself ie this is a standard part of their job. The receipt given to my brother was written on a compliments slip with no date as opposed to on one of their usual proper receipt slips so I will agree that perhaps there was a reason why she couldn't record it on the record sheet at the time, but even so, there's a long gap before it is recorded and then not by her.

    I am a naturally suspicious person and I suppose I have a general dislike of the whole place given the circumstances of it being depressing visiting my Dad and that I am not a people person and I don't generally get on well with care staff as they are like complete opposites in nature to myself. They often make me feel they dislike me on sight. Some are ok but there's always a contingent that seems to dislike me and be unfriendly from the word go hence the dislike becomes mutual and I will be looking for a way to catch them out when stress builds up too much as it's the only bit of control I have in the whole scenario. I feel as if they see me as some weird simpleton and it enrages me when they are the ones messing things up on a regular basis and clearly not capable of fulfilling basic requests or passing the information on to the relevant person.
  12. LYN T

    LYN T Registered User

    Aug 30, 2012
    Brixham Devon
    Nessa-I'm very sorry that you have this problem but I don't think it will be resolved by 'looking for a way to catch them out'. Please try to engage with the Carers-that way you will find them more approachable if any further problems arise. You have a common bond-your Dad. I know you want the best for him and it's very possible that they do too. Or do you have grievances with the care your Dad is receiving? If not I would suggest that you do approach any other problems with a kid glove (they don't need to know there is a steel fist inside;)).

    I know it is depressing visiting a loved one in a home-believe me I know that as I visited my late Husband every day for eighteen months. Many times I had to drive round the block because I had to put a smile on my face to visit-the last thing I wanted to do.

    I hope your meeting goes well and you get the answers that you need.

    Take care

    Lyn T
  13. Nessa456

    Nessa456 Registered User

    Nov 19, 2004
    West Midlands

    Thanks Lyn

    I know you are right - it's hard for me to put on an act when I am feeling differently inside but I will make an effort for my Dad as you are right in saying I need to maintain good relations with the staff for the foreseeable future

    It sounds as if you were devoted to your late husband

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