A 75-year-old woman has spoken out recently about a Palm Desert theft that deprived her of several of her possessions, as well as a significant amount of cash, after a stay at the ManorCare nursing home. The theft has gone on to spark dissent between the resident and the ManorCare company as the struggle to recover the items goes on.
A retired social worker, Eleanor Elster stayed for one month at the ManorCare nursing home in Palm Desert for medical reasons. Following that stay, Elster noticed that approximately $1,800 cash, a checkbook, a watch, an address book, and various articles of clothing were no longer with her. When she left in Dec. 2019, she filed a claim with management at ManorCare regarding the Palm Desert theft but, according to her, they “didn’t do enough” to adequately follow up the claim.
Following the failed claim, Elster reached out to California Channel 3 News in the hopes of gaining some new insight into the nature of the Palm Desert theft. Elster told reporters that she was”stunned” at the way the nursing home had handled her claim saying “I can’t believe that a facility like ManorCare would just blow off finding someone’s possessions.”
News Channel 3’s efforts uncovered conflicting and unhelpful stories from ManorCare personnel. The manager at the ManorCare facility refused to speak on camera, the department’s public information officer said the facility was “unaware of any thefts at ManorCare,” yet corporate spokesperson Kelly Kessler told reporters that ManorCare was indeed aware of Elster’s claim about the Palm Desert theft and that steps were being taken to “resolve her situation.”
As an additional measure, Elster filed a report with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, who reported that the case is being treated as a “civil matter.” In response to the underwhelming and unproductive responses of ManorCare employees, Elster said that “I feel violated, I feel disrespected, unheard.”
On Jan. 8, 2020, spokesperson Kelly Kessler provided an additional response to Elster’s claim which stated that “a patient’s belongings were inadvertently discarded when the patient was discharged to the hospital.” Kessler then apologized for the “oversight” and promised to reimburse Elster for her lost possessions.
While ManorCare may be able to financially reimburse Elster for the possessions it claims were lost, some of the more sentimental items taken in the Palm Desert theft will likely be irreplaceable. As a precaution, it is recommended that any individuals going into temporary lodging for an extended period of time maintain a vigilant inventory of what possessions they are bringing into and out of a facility. If the individual entering may not be cognisant enough on their own, a family member is recommended to do so in their place.
For more information about actions to take against nursing home theft and other forms of financial exploitation, visit the National Association of Nursing Home Attorneys’ Financial Abuse Page.