personal belongings of patients

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    lately we've had a rash of misplaced, damaged, or lost personal belongings of patients coming through our day surgery and o.r. these include clothing, wallets, dentures, hearing aides, and glasses. how does your hospital handle these items? when they're lost or broken what is the nurses responsibility?

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  2. 9 Comments...

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    We really try to get patients to have family take anything they don't absolutely need home with them. It's pointless to have a wallet during surgery or a hospital stay. We had one person bring an antique Waterford vase in. Yeah, ok. They were discharged, didn't pack it up when they left and it got lost. Fortunately, someone in housekeeping had found it and put it in a safe place and it was returned.

    When a person comes in, we make a detailed list of their belongings, what they sent home, and what they chose to keep with them. Dentures go into a labeled denture cup, since they are the things that seem to go missing most often. We list jewelry a person chooses to wear, though we strongly suggest sending them home. When they are transferred or discharged we go over the belonging's list to make sure everything on the list goes with them.

    If we lose something, or a patient says we lost something, it gets reported to security and we have to fill out a statement and relist the belongings we knew about to the best of our knowledge and the department pays for the missing item.

    I once had an older woman who accused me of stealing 6 pairs of her underpants, 3 bras and an oak nightstand.
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    I think it is ridiculous for any organization to have to pay for a lost item...(except in certain circumstances-such as a confused elderly person's teeth lost by staff)...Why not have the patient and nurse place the belonging into the courtesy bag (or whatever you call them) and tape is shut and sign the tape-and the list of belongings? Or whay not have a set of lockers installed? The key can be taped in the chart....
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    In nursing homes residents seem to lose their dentures and eyeglasses a lot. Where I use to work they just threw all the lost items in a drawer and when a family member came they would check this lost and found drawer. It didn't work very well. The best thing is to have everything with a name on it especially dentures,hearing aids and eyeglasses. If I had a relative in a nursing home I would not allow her to wear any kind of expensive rings especially expensive wedding rings. I have worked in several nursing homes and know of 8 expensive wedding rings that have disappeared forever. It is believed that someone on staff had stolen these expensive rings. What a disgrace!!!
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    Quote from Blackcat99
    In nursing homes residents seem to lose their dentures and eyeglasses a lot. Where I use to work they just threw all the lost items in a drawer and when a family member came they would check this lost and found drawer. It didn't work very well. The best thing is to have everything with a name on it especially dentures,hearing aids and eyeglasses. If I had a relative in a nursing home I would not allow her to wear any kind of expensive rings especially expensive wedding rings. I have worked in several nursing homes and know of 8 expensive wedding rings that have disappeared forever. It is believed that someone on staff had stolen these expensive rings. What a disgrace!!!
    I should have stated in my other post that I meant organizations such as hospitals....I believe that the staff in nursing homes should be held accountable for teeth,hearing aides,glasses etc..In the case of a demented resident the family STRONLGY needs to be encouraged to remove any expensive jewelry and heirlooms (I have residents wearing dime store jewelry in place of their wedding bands and they really don't know the difference now) We have an engraver for eyeglasses and dentures-it works great...With lots of prn staff floating around these trappings are often not put on the residents....The best way I have seen to prevent this is a sheet posted on the inside(HIPPA) of each closet door ...We drew pictures of dentures ,eyeglasses,hearing aides,walkers,etc and just circled what each resident needed...Also-their diet and ambulation status was written in the bottom...We updated them quarterly ......
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    Before our hospital sprang for patient possessions bags, I had a pre-op patient come in with what must have been more than just the clothes she was wearing. We put the stuff in a large black garbage bag (all we had to use), marked it very clearly with her name and "Patient"s clothing", and put it next to her bedside stand. Her mother came in the room during the surgery, opened the bag to take something out, did not replace the label and put it next to the trash can. The housekeeper picked up that bag of trash and threw it out. Of course. The hospital replaced the patient's new athletic shoes, but that's all.
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    On psych, pt's come in in all manner of messed up mental states, in all sorts of diarray up to and including frequently naked. I don't know how they come into the ED, but I don't hold the ED staff responsible if they have to cut off clothes, etc. I chart on what the pt came in with belongings-wise so there is no question how we received them on the floor. I won't have someone who had a BA of 400 sobering up and claiming he had $250 on his person when he arrived. Others have gone off about missing this that or the other thing despite the fact that pt was peeled up off the pavement unconscious - how exactly do they claim to know what they had?

    I'm not saying employees don't sometimes lift things - we had one tech who was stealing money and I took the appropriate action, but for the most part, my patients don't know what they did with their stuff before they came to the hospital, and they're looking to have the hospital pay for it.
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    In the ER one day we had a guy come in by ambulance who was found unconsious on the street. I triaged him in and set him up in a room. We took off his watch and personal belongings and bagged them. The guy ended up dying in the ER and when the family who was estranged from him came to see him they did not even care about the belongings...we had to remind them to take them even after handing them to them. the belongings were a solid gold lighter and 5000 buck cash and a Philippe Patek solid gold watch retails for about FIFTY THOUSAND dollars. The old guy was a multi millionaire and they did not even know what items he owned....

    Dave
  10. 0
    In the consent signed preop by the pt., it specifies that our facility is not responsible for lost items such as dentures and hearing aids. Nope, not nursing's responsibility, we have enough to be liable for, don't you think???




    Quote from mpowers
    lately we've had a rash of misplaced, damaged, or lost personal belongings of patients coming through our day surgery and o.r. these include clothing, wallets, dentures, hearing aides, and glasses. how does your hospital handle these items? when they're lost or broken what is the nurses responsibility?
  11. 0
    When I had to call the squad for a GI hemorrhage, I took only the bare essentials; my wallet and my keys. Since I had been unable to adequately clean up myself, I decided that wearing an old bathrobe would be more trouble than it was worth. The squad found me lying naked on the living room floor. Once my parents arrived, my mother promptly confiscated my wallet and keys, so that I literally had no personal belongings to worry about. I get the feeling, though, that not many patients are willing to take this minimalist approach.


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