Why do personal items go missing in nursing homes?

I am addressing this letter to all the caretakers and families in Canada who have family members residing in nursing homes. I want to know if the situations that we are encountering are widespread and if there is anything that we can do to change policies and procedures to help alleviate the problem.

My mother is 88 years old and has been in an Ottawa nursing home for the past 8 years. She has Parkinson’s, is in a wheelchair and cannot move. She is able to communicate and is aware of her surroundings (Parkinson’s only affects her movement, so she knows what is going on around her).

Since she has been in a nursing home her glasses have been lost 4 times and her dentures have been lost 3 times. Each time these items go missing we (the family) have to arrange for them to be replaced. This is not an easy task. It is very expensive as she does not have any insurance. Also, the hours we spend trying to deal with this situation could be precious time spent with our loved one instead.

In March of this year, when her teeth had been lost for the second time, we had to make arrangements for my poor Mom to get to 4 denturist appointments for fittings. This is not an easy thing as she is in a large wheelchair and she is not in the best of health. While waiting for her new teeth, my Mom was unable to chew and therefore had to be fed pureed food which is not appealing at the best of times, so she lost interest in food and consequently lost weight. She was also not able to communicate well without her teeth. Her health was compromised and her quality of life decreased enormously. Once she received her new teeth she began eating better and therefore her health improved.

Now we have just learned that her bottom teeth (less than 6 months old) have gone missing, again! The glasses that we purchased for her in December 2012 have also been lost and need to be replaced, again! Not one of the personal care staff are willing to take any responsibility for these losses, they all blame someone else. Needless to say we are outraged and are trying to figure out what is wrong with nursing home procedures regarding the loss of personal items.

When her teeth were lost again this past spring we contacted the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. They basically told us that it is up to each individual nursing home to set up policies and procedures regarding this issue. I spoke to an inspector who assured me that my Mom’s nursing home had policies in place to make sure that items would not be lost. We also spoke to the Director of Care for her nursing home who said she was aware of the situation and would make sure that these policies were followed. We even put up large colored signs in my Mom’s room indicating the special box where her glasses and teeth are to be kept to assist the personal support workers. Obviously this is not working and we need to find a better solution.

We want to know if there are other families out there who are experiencing the same problems. Eye glasses, false teeth and hearing aids are the most common personal care items that disappear. In our visits to the nursing home we often see residents without teeth or glasses, we presume the family members have simply given up since they are difficult and very expensive to replace. The loss of these items affects the quality of life for our family members in nursing homes and we feel that something needs to happen so that this situation can change.

If this problem has affected the care of your loved one in a nursing home we would like to hear from you. Do you see any solution or change that may help us in our effort to keep nursing home residents comfortable in their last years? With the population of Canada rapidly ageing, this could be happening to you or your loved one sooner than you think! Share your experiences and maybe together we can all come up with some solution to this ongoing problem.

Debbie Conway lives in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

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  1. Maggie

    I work as a psychologist in longterm nursing facilities. Unfortunately this is a common problem that is often ignored by staff and it is up to the patient or their family to address the issue. Sometimes patient’s are not capable of advocating for themselves and it does help for family to step in to address the issue. I am glad your mother has you.

    • Administrator

      I am an administrator of a nursing home and the question is when do families become responsible..? Nursing homes are paid to provide direct care of 2.80 a day of direct care. This includes all meals, medication administration, etc. If your family member needs more hours of care per day then consider hiring a sitter. When one admits to a facility it is not an end all to all problems. Again you are paying for certain aspects of care and not paying for 24 hour a day 1:1 attention. Consider having realistic expectations…

      • Deborah

        Wow! Your an administrator? I would not want my loved one attending your facility. Answering this question in the manner you stated shows that your attitude toward other issues would also flippant. This is a difficult experience for a family to deal with and you seem to have little compassion or understanding toward the families that deal with this on a daily basis or an understanding of how to solve the problem. I would say your facility needs a new administrator with a compassionate attitude and a “let’s solve problems- not add to the dysfunction”.

        • Elaine

          I share your comment Deborah…unfortunately I am seeing that this attitude does exist in long term care homes…we can only hope and pray that none of our loved ones end up in her home…

        • Adrian Carney

          Care home administration likes things the way they are. The nurse cliques run everything including medical ‘care’ and there is no accountability. Laws don’t seem to matter, and there is no accountability. Watching my mom suffer, the unending confusion and communication problems have deeply affected my life. It’s a really bad situation in Canada, it might be our personal future reality and badly needs to (and could) change with federal help.

      • J. Grandchamp

        It doesn’t sound as though the writer has unrealistic expectations. She just expects that the staff will have protocols in place to make it possible that patients won’t repeatedly lose dentures, hearing aids, and other personal items. I don’t know how expensive nursing homes are in Canada, but in the part of the United States where I live, we pay approximately $10,000 a month for what is labeled as room and board. Though no one expects staff to spend the entire day with the patient, staff should notice if the patient is not wearing his/her teeth after lunch. This would make the process of finding dentures a little bit more fruitful, at times.

        Yes, there will be losses. But in the nursing home where my mother is, one patient has lost her bottom dentures three times. To me, it would seem that the staff would realize after the first time that this woman is at risk for losing personal appliances and there would be protocols in place to ensure that she is periodically checked for missing dentures so when necessary, a search can be started quickly.

        • Barbara Stoffels

          brings back memories. my mom “lost” hers when the staff thought it too much trouble to take care of them. when I took her to a local dentist for her partial replacement, management was furious. spent thousands of dollars replacing her clothes after they were stolen, time and time again. one of the laundry staff kept a log and between the two of us, we could prove theft….but mgt said: but “they” don’t make much money!!!! meaning the aides were underpaid and the culture permitted this as a wage supplement….tried to get an assemblyman to initiate legislation to apply penalties to nursing home administrators but it went nowhere….right now some of these places are hell. “residents” can’t hear (some one lost their hearing aid”, read (someone lost their glasses) or eat properly. The next thing is a diagnosis of deteriorating cognition because the resident doesn’t respond to someone ….

          • Frieda

            I agree with you, Deborah. What is the nursing homes responsibility? Aren’t they being paid to take care of the patient? Doesn’t that mean putting their belongings in the proper places? That administrator is awful like most administrators, only there to collect a paycheck. My father is currently in a nursing home in Texas and the administrator is a horrible monster, he will lie and say anything to back up his staff and he knows their wrong, but what they don’t know is what gos around does come back around and they’ll pay for how they mistreat the elderly. You can tell these are not people who know God. My fathers personal items get lost all the time or stolen.

      • Sherry

        There is NO way I would even consider allowing my loved one to be in your care. It think based on your answer you need to find a new job where compassion, concern and overall patient care is NOT required!

      • Name (required)


      • Helga

        Consider adequately training staff to deal with denture issues. The home security act states that you are responsible to make sure that teeth are in place for every meal to aid in chewing, incising to help with proper digestation. What about the lost dignity in appearance. Take action and take ownership.
        Frustrated family member

        • Miranda

          I am an LPN student and currently working as a CCA in a nursing home. I am afraid training staff members won’t do a whole lot. I have found hearing aids on the floor while residents were sitting in chairs, I have found dentures in bed sheets, and have come to work after being three weeks on clinical to discover personal items missing.

          One way I know works most of the time is if the nursing home invests in end tables that have locks on them. That way CCAs can store resident’s personal items such as dentures, jewelry, hearing aids, and glasses in the drawer section, while storing shoes, slippers, etc in the cupboard portion. The resident usually has a key as well as an extra copy in the nursing station.

          Unfortunately most nursing homes won’t invest in new end tables because of money. Most of our problems have solutions involving money. It is frustrating for me as a CCA to advocate for things that would make life easier, safer, or better for residents. Most of our suggestions are dismissed or the nursing home does not have the funds to take on those suggestions. I find it frustrating to come into work and to discover someone’s personal items are missing, it causes a hassle. It would benefit everyone to have an end table with a lock on it and solve a lot of problems of things going missing. Be an advocate for your loved one and discuss with management the problems you have to look or solutions- because as a CCA- my words go nowhere.

          • Ann Marie Lasinski

            I so appreciate your concern for residents and what needs to be done and not being indifferent. Keep doing what you’re doing! Thank you!!!

          • Frieda

            And sometimes as a family member, your words don’t go anywhere. Sometimes if you complain too much the nursing home will get rid of your family member to get rid of you.
            You can complain to the State and they don’t help very much, The administrators do whatever they want and no one seems to care. No one listens. What do you do?

      • Sheila Johnson

        You are a very cold hearted person. And very unrealistic yourself. What happened to compassion?

      • Sylvia

        This is years after your response and I certainly hope that you read it. I would say that you should consider getting some more empathy and compassion. Our loved ones have had to give up almost everything upon entering a facility. Why should they be subject to theft and abuse of what little property they have left? My mother has had THOUSANDS of dollars worth of clothes, shoes, bedding, dentures, eyeglasses and personal property lost, damaged or stolen in the last 2 years. . We do her laundry every day, she lives in a private room and as such there is no need for her property to leave the room. We are STILL waiting for a response from out newest administrator. Perhaps if you and others in your position had more understanding and better management skills where you held yourself and others reporting to you accountable then families and residents wouldn’t be exposed to this abuse..because it IS abuse.

      • Yvonne

        Having her items kept in one piece and not in someone else’s pocket or room is not a ‘care’ issue. This is a matter of being a humanitarian and helping others especially those you are entrusted to care for have the items they need and want. I know how you admins work, you care not about your residents but about the $ value associated with them! If you want to treat ppl like shit, Get a job as a dog walker and you can bask in all the shit u can handle

        • Christa

          Lol Then when somebody is missing property then she can just say shit happens and she can even prove it Seriously though I am in a real validation right now and they watch my TV remote it still works though LOL and went to the Lroom and asked them to look for it and guess what that’s where it was It takes a second to check the sheets before you watch them not an hour of constant one on one care or direct care

          • Christa

            I meant to say rehabilitation center and that they washed my remote

      • Tammy Bottom

        It sounds like you are part of a large problem in nursing homes! I would not want my loved ones to be where you work. I hope Karma comes back at you. It’s sad that you have no compassion for the elderly.
        I would think you should start looking for solutions and not making excuses.


      • Barbara Powell

        Cold, uncaring no empathy “Administrator”. This is why nursing facilities have BAD reputation. Karma is a _____!

      • Christa

        Oh my gosh this can’t be real you got to be kidding me i
        turn the table on you lady or man please ignore this woman I Apologize for their in humanity and insensitivity and their response this is not even human or humane YOU do not need to be in this business at ALL let alone administrator of anything I have to go back and reread this to see if it’s true I cannot believe how insensitive and inhumane

  2. Lee-ann bird

    Staff just do not care. The patient is just an object. They have no empathy for the patient. They as staff are not acountable for lost items. I look after an old lady in a home and i am subjected t the same problems. I work in the dental industry and see many cases of lost dentures

  3. Janet Girecky

    As an LVN and RCFE administrator, I have found the best procedure to follow is to make one person responsible to assure that glasses, hearing aids and dentures are properly handled. All items should be stamped /labeled with identifying marks. At bedtime, these items need to be removed, dentures cleaned and placed to soak, hearing aid batteries removed and aids placed in storage pouch, and glasses cleaned and placed in a case. After the previous steps are followed, the steps need to be checked off in a log book, with the caregiver’s initials. In the AM, the caregiver should find all items in their proper place, then initial the log when all items have been returned to the Resident. Any missing items need to be reported to the Supervisor immediately.

  4. Diane

    My father’s glasses & dentures also went missing. We often found these and other items in another patient’s room, though, as he was on a floor of patients with severe dementia, many of whom liked to “collect” things..Unfortunately, there was not much the staff could do about it, as they cannot watch over all the patients who wander in and out of rooms. My mother eventually taped down everything she could, labelled everything, and brought his glasses back and forth with her as he never read on his own anyway.

    • Colin

      We have the same problem only worse in the UK.
      Below are two letters explaining the loss of MANY possessions not just teeth – it can be very amusing when you get used to the conclusion that every care home is a kleptomaniac’s dream.
      Yes we too have found that things go missing but after a while I have come to the conclusion (as Fiona said, and the post did make me laugh) that a lot of the time it is my mother who has left or swapped items as she wanders round the home. To date, a watch, pair of glasses, hearing aid, walking stick and various other things. Sometimes I go and one or other has reappeared only to be missing next time. I have stopped worrying about it and now only have to persaude my Dad to stop worrying too. Thought I might show him this thread so he realises it’s quite commmon. PP

      Hiya Garnuft,
      I have to say we all laughed that day – one when we sat looking at each other asking where the remote control had gone because we had been in her room for something like 6 hours by then and as she was sleeping the tv was the only thing to keep us amused! When we toddled off down to the lounge to tell the carers we’d been robbed whilst in situ – they laughed too – they knew who it was – had rescued the remote and the glasses but said that unfortunately the pot pourii was now at the end of the corridor providing great entertainment because they were all sitting there pulling it to bits! Off i went to see this for myself and sure enough – it was everywhere but a lot of contented residents were having a great time and one carer there making sure they didn’t eat the stuff! The carer said that they were thinking of hiring her out as a pick pocket if they were ever short of money – I said i’ll keep that in mind because she would be top of her profession that’s for sure! LOL
      Can I just say I agree about the most precious thing in there being themselves. Also wanted to say about photographs too – if you can either print them off or if they are old photographs then scan them then print them – that is the preferable thing to do. Photograph ripping also seems to be a favoured pastime amongst some folks – but it does leave us wondering why the person in question was removed from the pic that day but not on other days – really makes you wonder how the mind works when dementia starts interfering.
      Take Care

  5. David Evans

    I am working with the Nursing homes in the Calgary area implementing an new technology for the return of found dentures and glasses to their owners. The nursing homes have found our program to be both cost effective and affordable. Best of all it takes a little strain of of us, the families.
    David Evans
    Eyedent Technologies.

    • Sue

      Can you give me some contact info for your company to pass on to my mom’s nursing home?

  6. Kim Steacy

    I have just returned from mom’s nursing home where one of her hearing aids has gone missing again! Two years ago, one went missing permanently. Purchased a new set $2,000. Early Dec, one went missing, found in laundry room 3 weeks later. Found the day I was ordering the new replacement $1500. Solution by staff was to put up a sign at the head of her bed to check for hearing aids before sending sheets to laundry… perhaps it should have read check hearing aids in patient’s ears before sending sheet to laundry. Receive a call a few days ago, hearing aid went missing after mom’s shower. Do the staff actually care about missing things. Not really, as they aren’t the ones having to replace them. I purchased an expensive $75 pair of slip-on running shoes with rubber soles (hard to find) at the start of summer… sent them to the laundry for “labelling”… never saw them again. My father was given a quilt from the Cancer Society when he was terminal. After he passed, the quilt was with mom for a short time before it went missing. I asked how many hearing aids go missing… “lots”. Obviously the procedures they are using (or not using) don’t work! My mom does not want to take out her hearing aids at night as she is legally blind and this is her link to the outside world. I don’t doubt that they would go missing at the nurses station either. Now they are going to check in the morning and at night as part of their routine (a little late). More than frustrated.

  7. David Evans

    I am introducing a identification method, for eyeglasses, hearing aids and Dentures. All items if lost then found can be readily identified.

    • Name (required)

      I am interested in your identificatin process. Please provide me more info. My MIL has lost two hearings AIDS in her nursing home in one month.

      Gets costly to replace.



    • Susan Miller

      Just putting identification on items dentures, glasses hearing aids etc. may help some but is not the main issue. Because you ca have that and you still don’t find the missing items because I have reported things missing glasses, dentures clothing, bedding and they just put it on so called report and no one really takes time to look. I would like to suggest to Nursing Homes that every so often they have a procedure to check residents rooms, mainly those who are unable to do so themselves or they don’t have family that monitors the belongings in the room, and have said staff member see if others have someone else’s belongings. Many do not care, it’s not their parent of loved one and they don’t want to be bothered taking time to treat people properly and with the respect that should be given. It frustrates and makes my blood pressure rise that I have to go hunting for my Mom’s belongings. I find things belonging to others often and have to return to the nurse’s station or to that resident myself. I believe the issues are the staff and wandering residents who should not be allowed to go in other areas and peoples rooms. They should have to compensate for the losses and then maybe procedures would change. I’d like to suggest that the head of the nursing homes go in as undercover boss and see how they are treated!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • M. CASTEEL

        I agree with alot of what i have read here we have experenced alot of the same issues and worse. I would love to see admin and director of nursing have to be patients with no special privileges and get a dose of reality but most directors and administrators dont really. Care and unfortunately your loved one is just another number/ paycheck. They truely dont care about residents or the families attached to them. Its really sad that our older generation is treated so disrespectful by these facilities that are suspose to provide and care for them but they truely dont. Medical needs are not met, staff is rude and disrespectful to residents and family, residents are left unattended to ( i have even found residents sleeping hunched over sleeping in the dinning room at 2 am and i questioned this and got told oh shes fine thats what she does.) If that was my family member i would be furrious. But its just normal for all nursing homes even the pretty fancy ones that have all the pretty building and floweres and furninshing, these ones are normally the worse because its all for show!!!!! There is little to no care by staff and not half the staff that would be needed to account for the amount of residents. Not to mention some nurses working like 22 hours in a row and only being off for 8 hours. And then working again. Its no wonder they cant keep track of patients or patients personal property. I discovered multiple times missed medications and inpropper logging of medications. Its completely disgraceful how these place opperate and they are making a fortune doing it. I hope anyone that reads this truely considers alternative options before using any of these faclities just remember we all get older and someday it might be you hopefully some day things will change because the entire nursing home / skilled nursing units desperately need to be restructured ( private pay and medicare/medicaid) remember the fancy the place more than likly the more there compensating for saddly. So it takes alot of on going time and involment to make sure your loved oned is taken care of and provided for just as if they were at home with you which is honestly a better solution if possible.

  8. Trish Rawsthorne

    I agree with your comments above and believe that this is a systemic issue throughout Canadian personal care homes. I am from Manitoba and my Mother is currently in a personal care home and she has lost several items – eye glasses, her large clock, etc. My advice is to take pictures of the items that are likely to disappear – glasses, dentures, etc. and have those pictures attached to the medical record. If possible when dentures are being created, I would find out if there is a way to place the name of the individual onto the denture plates so that when the items are “lost”, they can be identified and returned to the owner. Similarly, I would encourage identifying other items. I suspect that these items go missing through several routes: when bathing residents, the aide conducting the bath is pre-occupied with the task at hand, and it can be an assembly line procedure so personal items are left in the bathing room not at the bedside prior to the bath. The second more likely event is residents wandering into other residents’ rooms and seeing items that look “nice” or familiar, they may take them thinking they belong to them. I know the nursing home staff often have a collection of glasses etc. without any identification so they are unable to return them to residents. When I take my mother out of the facility, I close the door to her room; however, more often than not, when we return her door is open – housekeeping, other residents? There is no way to lock the door, though I think there should be a way to do this to protect the belonging of the resident. I would continue to press the head of the personal care home for innovative ideas on how to protect possessions.

  9. Karin

    I was just looking on-line in the hope that I might find some advice or support in dealing with a similar problem – hence I found this page. Unfortunately I am unable to help of offer any advice to you – sadly I can only tell you that the same problem also happens here in England.

    My sister is currently in a long-term, residential care facility – a Brain Injury Rehabilitation Unit and Care Facility. Since her admission back in December 2012, 10 months after her brain injury, I have had to deal with numerous problems relating to her personal property going missing. To date none of the items, bar one pair of trousers, have been found or returned to her. I am currently trying to deal with the fact that 12 days ago a large amount of her clothing and some other personal belongings were found to be missing, indeed most of the missing clothing was reported to me by the care facility. In addition to this she went on a special “night out”, her first since before her admission to hospital, and as the other residents and care workers were in their best clothes I thought it only appropriate that my sister was dressed likewise. So I took in a very pretty, and rather expensive, outfit for her to wear. I made arrangements with the day staff, the night staff and the Manager of the unit that the outfit should be removed upon my sister’s return, placed in a bag, put in the Manager’s office and returned to me on my next visit, (the clothing actually belongs to me personally). Since then more than a month has passed and to date I have received nothing and have been told that they do not know where the outfit is. The same is said of the newly missing clothes. Everyone acts as if it’s not their problem, all they can do is continually tell me that she needs more clothes! (rubbing salt in the wound!).

    I have once again taken to washing my sister’s clothes myself, which is what I did for over 2 years until the care facility put in place a new “system” for taking care of residents clothes washing. I feel totally stupid for having believed they could help in this way, it was supposed to take some of the pressure off me – I have a 9 year old child to take care of and am physically disabled myself, due to a spinal injury.

    It upsets me most to think we use the words “CARE” … does anyone really care ? It certainly doesn’t feel like it at times! I have enough trouble trying to ensure my sister’s physical needs are taken care of, this is just an unnecessary, additional problem.

    At this point in time it would appear I am left with no alternative but to notify the police of the missing items … I can only presume they have been stolen, as there is no other explanation for their disappearance! I am sure this is going to make the relationship between the family and the care facility very difficult, but what else can be done ??!!

    I do hope that you have some resolution to your problem. My thoughts are with you.

  10. Shirley Wilson

    My husband is in a LTC home in Calgary and his clothes keep going missing. His belt to hold up his pants, he has lost weight since going into the home. The home has happy hour and last week while at happy hour his pants fell down on the dance floor infront of all the residents. How embarassing!!! I ask the staff to look for the belt and they did nothing. Today I made an inventory of everything in his room. They ask for a padlock for his closet. I supplied a lock and it went missing. The nurses said they were looking for it, but they had the key. DAH what good does the key do without the lock. I purchased a new belt for him ($50) as he is Big n Tall. Had to buy it at George Richards. Now it went missing again. Today after making my inventory of what was in his closet the nurse looked in his room mates closet and found a pair of pants and the belt in his closet. He had one males shoe, a sock, and a ladies slip in his closet not his. The staff are negligent who do the laundry and return the clothes to the room. They just put it wherever, just to get out of the situation. Thank gooness he doesn’t have glasses or a hearing aid, or dentures. It is very frustrating for the families that have to replace articles that go missing. Today I gave them a second lock and told them if anything goes missing and I find the lock is not on the closet door, I will be calling in the Police for a search of the ward for his missing items. His shoes, slippers, pants, belt, hats, and socks have all gone missing. The laundry eats socks I am sure. They are all labelled but still to no avail. The staff don’t care at all. It is so frustrating.

    • Brenda Trasatti

      My mother has been in a nursing home since October 2014. She was using a wheelchair that the facility supplied. The arm pads were falling off, it had no footrests on it, and every now and then screws would fall out from somewhere on the chair. We purchased a new chair for my mom and are afraid that somehow this will go “missing” like many other things of hers have. We labeled the chair as best we could with black markers and even had her name etched in the metal frame. I wish we could have a tracking device attached to the chair just in case. Any ideas?

  11. Vicki

    My Mom is also in a LTC facility in Ontario. It is really sad to see that all the beautiful clothes she once was used to wearing is a chance for them to be taken, stolen or misplaced. For Christmas last year I purchased two beautiful cardigans and within one weak of having them in her closet, they have disappeared (and might I add that they have never been returned!). I was also once told by one of the staff that she needed more bras and socks! I was so taken aback and embarrassed! I almost lost it since I have purchased over 30 bras and at least one hundred pairs of (diabetic) socks in one year!! Oh where do they go? And all were labeled with her name and room! I am left to buy less expensive clothing and it breaks MY heart! I now leave notes on her closet door as to when I notice a piece of clothing that is missing. Her dentures were also lost (and NO staff advised me of the loss!) and I had to make appointments for her to be refitted with bottom dentures. It is very difficult to see a parent having to go through this. I mentioned that since her dentures were less than 5 years old, that her insurance would NOT cover them. There was not much sympathy from the staff. Obviously, the dentures were not paid by them!
    There has to be some sort of recourse for the families other than having to bite down and provide the missing items for their loved-ones. I am seriously thinking of getting little GPS chips to see if it is not staff that take the items (hopefully not the dentures)! Obviously my Mom cannot advocate for herself when something is missing. I try to keep on top of the situation and mention it everytime there is something missing. But, again, the look on the staff’s face tells me that they are far from being interested in what has disappeared.

    • Diane

      My Mom is in a long term care home in Hamilton Onntario. She is palliative with end stage cancer and blind as well! Family does her laundry and we have signage ever where in her room. All of her clothing has been “accidentally” sent out for laundering and is returned like shrunken rags. My mother is a heavier woman so we have purchased high end expensive clothing that fits her comfortably! They continue to either loose her expensive pants or destroy them. We have replaced one pair of pants for times at over 100.00 each, many nightgowns, bras, panties and even her Egyptian cotton blanket! When confronted with the problem, their response is that family should buy second hand clothing or cheap clothes at Walmart! It’s bad enough we have to pay for a laundry service that we don’t want but why doesn’t anyone care about the person! Its hard to believe that our seniors are being treated in this disgusting way. You don’t even have right to have nice clothing! Nobody cares……staff has endless excuses and family members just keep on paying. Family has been visiting my mom twice daily so they can catch the laundry before its sent out. Even doing this, laundry gets sent out first thing in the morning! It so upsetting and frustrating…..UNBELIEVABLE … It’s pathetic that they get away with this! We have to advocate for our loved ones and we need to inform the public of the goings on in Long Term Care

    • Cristina S.

      This is a little late, but Vicki, your letter could have been written by my mom in regards to my grandmother’s care in an American nursing home. It sounds as if nursing homes the world over are full of the same stories! All of my grandmother’s clothes went “missing” only 3 days after her entrance into the nursing home, including all of her socks and undergarments! The staff had her dressed in scrubs. (By the way my grandmother is wheelchair bound and has Alzheimer’s so it is not like she could have misplaced them herself). Her name was in every article of clothing. It wasn’t until my mother and uncle threatened to go to the police that some of the missing items happened to be “found” hidden in the laundry room. The majority was still missing. My mom had to buy hundreds of dollars of new replacement clothing. I bought a stuffed puppy dog for my grandmother for her birthday, which she holds onto day and night. It turned up missing yesterday (it was also labeled) and again the staff did not take anything seriously until my mom threatened with police action. And “surprise” it was found. The whole situation is sad.

  12. Maureen

    Unfortunately, I’m glad to have found this comment thread. I have alot to say about this topic as my Mom has been in two different nursing homes over the past 3 years in Sault Ste. Marie. However, my main issue today is that I’ve recently encountered a situation where her purse was rifled through in her room (thank GOD I had her VISA, Passport and her Green Shield Card with me). Some spending money and all her I.D. and personal photos were taken. Initially, staff wrote it off as “Shoppers”..elderly residents who lift other elderly resident’s belongings. After putting all the puzzle pieces together, even the Administration agrees there is a thief amongst their staff, volunteers, or visitors. No old lady in a wheel chair could have pulled this off.
    We need more security in these places. My Moms’ I.D. along with her personal and cherished photographs were in the folder that was removed from her purse, along with the cash and her change purse. Her almost empty purse was located in a very peculiar spot. A place she would have never put it. Obviously it was someone who knew my Mom was out of her room, knew where her purse was hidden, and had some insight as to what might be in there. We don’t care about the money at this point. We want her I.D. and photos back. This has got to stop. If my Mom was ripped off, I’m sure other ladies and gents were ripped off on the same floor and elsewhere. Not enought emphasis is put on this. It’s shoved under the rug and blown off and nobody takes responsiblity. Let’s get together and do something. I’m sick of my Mom and other elderly folks in these homes being taken advantage of. I want my Mom’s I.D. and her photos back. And I want all of our parents and grandparents to feel safe and secure in these places without having to worry about losing their belongings. Let’s do something. I’m all in.

  13. Everlena

    I’m not in Canada but the USA, and have encountered the same problems with my loved one’s missing glasses, missing clothing, shirts, pants, shoes, coats, radio’s etc. Usually it is the staff taking most of these things, but some residents also take them. Some clothing are misplaced in the laundry, and taken by others, which is why I started doing my brother’s laundry. The nursing home has no quality laundry program which allows the tracking of a resident’s clothing, it’s a population hazard. Just a name on the item does not stop dishonesty if someone wants to take it. My doing his laundry worked for a time but during a blizzard I had to send the laundry back by UPS and it disappeared after it reached the nursing home. After a complaint some items came back but the newly purchased items I sent along with the laundry are still missing. I am fighting to get reimbursed, I have the receipts. The manager is fighting me to replace the items themselves with lower quality items. Always communicate in writing with the managers, take pictures of the things which you provide or make a video record for your own record. I have photos of the clothing which I purchase along with the receipts. Log in with the front desk what you bring to the place. Engrave the eye glasses in the lenses to identify them. This may help. Good luck

  14. Maria Allen

    Nursing Homes have always been this way. The staff generally does not care about their residents. The majority of people who work in nursing homes are not enjoying their work. Not only that, they do not hesitate to write down LIES, LIES, LIES into the paperwork. It is the way it is. Some nursing homes are better than others- we all know that. Don’t get too hot and bothered about missing items, because it is very common. Nursing Homes are obviously good for some people and it is refreshing to see them thrive. My heart goes out to you. I have gone through all the rigamarole and truly have some dark moments…But I have found that prayer, along with keeping track of your loved one’s care, is the only way to go. Someday you will feel good about the fact that your efforts made a difference. May God Bless You and keep you afloat.

  15. J. Grandchamp

    Sadly, it is the same thing in the United States. My mother lost her lower dentures after having a stroke in the nursing home, being hospitalized, then being re-hospitalized with pneumonia. Her mental functioning was compromised, and when her bottom dentures disappeared we were told that the kitchen staff doesn’t have the extra time to go over all of the trays when they come back to make sure that people with dentures didn’t accidentally leave them on the tray. The staff looked in her room, but no one had looked at her during or after lunch and noticed her teeth were missing until later in the day, and it’s likely she lost them in the dining room earlier in the day. When I asked for help in financing the dentures, I was told it was our responsibility to buy new dentures. It seems to be their responsibility to take the monthly check for room and board, but no one is responsible if a compromise patient loses her dentures.

    Now, my mother’s brand-new hearing aid is missing. No one is taking any responsibility – as a matter of fact every time something disappears, it seems the staff blames the disappearance on the memory of the patient. Very convenient in a nursing home that houses primarily the elderly, wouldn’t you say? We haven’t finished paying for the hearing aids – and she was able to wear them for a month in order to determine whether or not she wanted to keep them, but now we will be out the $2700 for the one hearing aid that’s missing even if we determine we are going to return both hearing aids. Because, of course, we will only have the one hearing aid to return. ( by the way, it’s a long story how only one hearing aid got lost, but suffice it to say the other hearing aid was damaged by a clinician and is with the clinician right now being fixed.)

    I’m not quite sure what to do about any of this. I’ll know tomorrow if they’ll help us pay for the hearing aid. But I suspect it’s going to be exactly like it was with the dentures. Our burden. I’m so sorry you’ve been going through this, as I am sorry for everyone who goes through it. But it isn’t a Canadian phenomenon. It’s happening in nursing facilities in the states, too.

  16. Nick

    Sorry to hear this re your mum. My mum is in a nursing home in Australia. The same occurs here. I’m in the process of replacing her dentures. Upper and bottom as they too have gone missing. Most recently she has lost her glasses. It is very distressing for her and for her family. I wish I had a solution to share but I don’t. Best of luck.

  17. Sandra

    My father-in-law has been there for almost 3 years. Things go missing constantly and no one wants to take responsibility. We’ve asked them to take his teeth out every night and give them back in the morning, we’ve asked them to take his hearing aids out every night and return them in the morning. We asked them to put a sign on the wall so that the garbage bag is checked before they take it out to ensure nothing has fallen into it. i.e. hearing aids/glasses/teeth. We’ve had to replace his glasses twice, we bought brand new false teeth $3500, we’ve had them lost I don’t know how many times, but thankfully we’ve found them. Unfortunately, today the bottom ones went missing again, and this time I don’t think they’ll be found. One of his hearing aids was missing, and today we noticed the other one is also gone. We ask anyone and all we get is “I don’t know, he must’ve lost them again”. Putting the blame on a 93 year old man. He pays enough to live there per month, someone else needs to start stepping up to the plate for all the costs that the families are incurring. They seem to think it’s no big deal that the families money tree will never run dry. We’ve had so many things go missing even though it all clearly had his name on it. We even had the denturist engrave his name on his teeth. What more do they expect the families to do.

  18. Teresa

    My mom is in a long term care hospital in Ottawa and her hearing aids have been lost 3 times. A member of her family or the care assistant we hire has been there to put her to bed every night for the last 500 days running to make sure they don’t go missing. If we ever miss a night because someone is sick or exhausted , they are inevitably gone or misplaced, even when we talk to the night nurses in the evening – most of whom have been caring for her for months, and get assurances face to face that this will be taken care of .. We’ve been told it’s in the daily orders, but we can never trust the staff. We have signs up all over her room, we talk to the staff about it all the time, we’ve had long meetings with the managers. Thousands of dollars out of pocket for my parents, hours and hours of negotiating with the hospital and insurance, delaying paying other bills waiting for the insurance money to come in. And absolutely the worst part of it: leaving my mother, who has hardly any capacities left, unable to talk to anyone or understand anything.. it is tragically, heartbreakingly isolating. The first time it happened she was so isolated and disoriented for so long before replacements were fitted — I know it was a major factor in a big decline in her health and in misdiagnoses, as she wasn’t able to talk to or hear any of her caregivers, physios, psychologists etc.. I just heard today that the hospital lost her hearing aids on Saturday and I just want to kill someone. I just can’t understand why why why they cant’ figure this out. it’s just not that complicated, and it’s so deeply important.

  19. colleen

    My father has had his dentures taken a couple of times at $3000 a pair and the trauma of getting it done and not being able to eat…it is a real problem. Please my mother gets upset and we have a whole period of upheaval in the family. She and we cannot afford to replace them over and over and over my dads long term care bill and her rent… is a big burden.

  20. Sandra

    Earlier in this post I spoke about my father-in-law’s dentures going missing. We have purchased him 2 new pairs of glasses in the last year, and now have to purchase a new pair because it’s gone missing AGAIN. My mother also resides in the same nursing home. Now her stuff is going missing. She had 2 hearing aids ($2,000). First one went missing, and before we could get that one replaced I found out yesterday the other has gone missing. Do we now have to start filing complaints with police to have resident areas searched. Everything that has gone missing was clearly marked with their names. When we ask caregivers/nurses all we get is “I don’t know”, you need to check with lost & found yourselves. They are open between the hours of….blah blah blah blah blah….when I tell them we work those hours they shrug their shoulders. At a cost of $2500 a month to reside in these facilities, and watching some caregivers siting and watching TV in the common room I’m now contemplating going to the top. Never mind supervisors etc…

  21. Angie

    I have a solution for you. A tool lock box with a code to keep valued items in.
    Yes this happens all across the board in spades. Care aides are busy with behavioral issues, clients dying, getting people ready for appointments and normally take care of 9 to 10 people a day. The morning shift is the most difficult time in any nursing home. This means in the span of an hour a human being is getting up 9 human beings in an hour in some places! This includes people who may not have a leg, blind, behavioral issues etc.
    Care aides are often over worked in this sector and burn out rate high.
    Some places have a locked in unit for people with Alzheimer’s, others do not. Many times it is other clients simply wandering off with someone else’s things and doing God knows what, including put items in the garbage.
    Unfortunately staff can not watch over 9-10 people all the time at once. Things can happen very fast such as a fall or even a fight between clients and that takes anyone’s attention away.
    Know your staff and come in often. Find out what the issue’s are and make them public and political. Be the voice care aides often can not be or that of their clients.

  22. Jacqueline Ringrose

    This problem of “”disappearing personal items ” seems to be rife My mother in a U.K care home
    suffers from the same losses. I used to make sure that she had the same quality of clothing and personal possessions that she was used to .but they slowly disappeard .of course it was always mother’s fault .Knickers ,T shirts. shoes (black ) ones were taken or exchanged Hearing aids were swapped for ones that didn’t work, for mother’s one that did, she now has to go to have some new
    ones .as they are made to fit the owner . A good watch was swapped for a piece of broken rubbish’and now I have just found that her own T .V has been taken and replaced by an older ,smaller one
    Of course these items are never found,????????????? and I wonder if it is now time to start
    invoicing the care home for the cost of replacing ALL the items large or small.
    I think property goes on the missing list, because it is assumed that the owner of said items will
    not realise that they are no longer there, or have been exchanged .Put down to their having
    Dementia. or too old to notice
    I do now have a written list of all her clothes and shoes which is pastd to the inside of her wardrobe
    door, which I do upgrade, and write on it items that have “gone missing “

  23. Ron

    I am charged with the oversight of 31 Skilled Nursing Communities for Housekeeping and laundry, and have been researching this issue at length. I have been looking at RFID technology and think it will be some sort of tracking system like this that will be the solution. I would love to say that this system is fool proof, but items not tagged will still fall out of sight. I think if we could get the tags down below a $1 and the three of four RFID readers under a thousand dollars. We need to be able to locate items and prevent them from being unintentionally thrown away, or laundered. I would love to extend this to the tracking to the personal clothing and the miss deliveries we all know happen.

    How much of this cost to long term care would you family members willing supplement?
    Some estimates I have received topped $60-70K, I think I could program something basic for $10K.

    • Rene Verboomen

      Hi, we developed a RFID system to avoid lost of prosthesis and other objects.
      The readers are under $1,000 and tags are under 1$. Tags are small enough and can be detected 2 to 4 meter from the antennas, depending of the environment. We are finalizing the software now.
      Interested to know more?

  24. J Hobson

    I am a patient in a Nursing Home in Newcastle NSW Since coming here many of my new clothes some still unworn have been stolen. Perfumes, ornaments , money have been taken . The Manager says she will investigate. In the meantime locks on the doors Management supplied, have keys. Where to put the keys? I wore a key around my neck, on waking key is gone and I find it in a neat little pile in my bed. More new clothes are stolen. Management does not care. Surveillance cameras should be around!. On speaking to others in different Homes I found they were suffering the same fate. Where has Honesty gone. If the Management ignore this situation would that be called a criminal act?

  25. Richard Jatel

    my brother is in middlesex nursing home In ONT and his new dentures are missing ; they told me they are not responsible as they consider them valuables in E.G. wallets ; gold chains ; radio or other things ; they also told me my brother may have threw them at staff which is total nonsense as he cannot even feed himself so how is he be able to throw things when he cannot lift anything in his hands
    how on earth can they consider dentures that one needs to eat with as valuables ;’ I am going to pursue this through my MP and write a letter to the editor column in Sarnia paper and London paper ;
    no one on earth considers dentures as VALUABLES

  26. Dolores Marsters

    if any of the lost items were in the inventory list at the facility, then the facility is liable to replace them.

  27. Princess Dianna

    Those who are running nursing homes where they allow the workers to not be responsible for the resident’s belongings are just plain wicked and inconsiderate. Their time and day will come. I know of a nursing home that ran their establishment on lies. When the resident’s clothing went missing after she died, they would not help the family in trying to find them. They gave the family the run around and was very rude to them. They did not even have enough sense to call the family member to have them pick up the clothing. They just got rid of them and when asked about them they did not have an answer. They tried to pass off some donated clothes to the family member as the resident’s lost clothing. This did not work because the family member was very active in the resident’s care and very much aware of the clothing that she brought to the nursing home. These people who work at the nursing home thought they were slick. Even after the family member wrote a four page detailed letter to the nursing home administrator in hopes of them helping to resolve the matter, they continued to string the family member along. The more the family member called to follow up with them, the more the administrator would not take the phone call and not return any messages. They did this because they thought the family member was stupid and would finally give up. Not so! The family member was hurt and very frustrated at the treatment of this nursing home, so she got other people involved in the matter and challenged this wicked nursing home to pay for the lost clothing.

    The family member has been compensated for the lost clothing, but the way they issued care to their family member does not sit well with them. This nursing home needs to be either closed down and let a new competent staff take over. The doctor who took care of this resident needs to be fired because he could care less about the residents. He is just a cold walking dead of a person, collecting his pay check every week. However, his wicked deeds are known by the creator and one day he will get what he deserves. The state needs to crack down on many of these nursing homes because they don’t really care for the residents and many of the nurses aides do not know how to care for humans. In fact, their attitudes are poor and they are abusive. They are not equipped or educated enough to do the job. Somebody needs to watch for these older people and people need to stop putting their family members in these places and not checking on the nursing staff to see how they are treating the residents.

    The government has got to do a better job in making sure that the workers in the nursing homes are equipped to do the job and that they care for the resident’s in an excellent manner. They have to start bringing penalties on these people who are treating the residents poorly.

  28. Doreen Jones

    Yes we have had the same problem. First it was her own wheelchair then it was her bottom dentures now both her hearing aids have gone missing. Not to mention since she has been in there 12mths
    She has had at least 15 pairs briefs and 8 bras they have all been lost in the wash.
    Mum will be 102 in August she has dementia can not walk alone and needs to be dressed and undressed
    As far as I can see she cannot be held responsible for her belongings.
    So whom is it upto
    They said that she can have another wheelchair at the cost to us of £145 her original wheelchair was only 9mths old when she went into the nursing home. Why should mum or her family be made to foot the bill. It really is exasperating.
    Thanks for reading

  29. Carmen Flores

    It is very unfortunate but this goes on here in the states also..

    An elderly lady in my building with no family went into a nursing home/rehab facility..I am her Health Care Proxy.

    The only thing she had with her of any value was a gold chain necklace with a cross on it. She had it on as far as last Friday, 7/15.. A friend who also visits frequently always checks to see that she had it and on that evening she was wearing it.

    Come Tuesday and he again visits and she tells him her chain is missing..When asked when she noticed she said a while…So it happened between Friday evening and Tuesday morning.. The chain was not so large that in taking off a top it would have come off nor can she take it off as was suggested by someone there because her hands shake a bit.. They said maybe it fell into the wastebasket..again, it would have to have been taken off for that to happen.

    I kind of blame myself for not bringing it home but at the same time this was an item she has had for years and never took off and was one item along with a little radio that would remind her of home and at least that they were hers in this strange environment…something she was used to seeing and having.

    They hire nurses that are still wet behind the ears, no experience and very few na’s..Can you believe this facility charges $13,000.00 monthly? So much money so that they can steal your things. Outrageous!

    We are hoping to be able to bring her home after the rehab ends in September and put that money towards getting her home assistants and visiting nurse service. I wish there were family available to help with the decisions but there is no one..She is 93 y.o.

    As for me, I hope to die at home.

  30. Susan

    I am a manager of a care home for dementia and have this problem. My staff and I have spent hours on the internet trying to find an answer to this problem. The dentist can now put the name of the resident in the teeth, but they could not guarantee the resident would not misplace their teeth. We initial the hearing aids with a permanent marker and all glasses have the residents initial or name on them. These changes have helped who owns what when the residents leave them around the home, but if these items have been put down the toilet or wrapped in tissue and thrown in the bin etc it does not help the situation. Desperate to find a solution.

    • Cathy Breitenbach

      My mom’s lower dentures were just lost in nursing home. She has dementia and cannot take care of her needs on her own anymore, although she is still able to feed herself. I found that the dentures were missing ,the staff had no idea. I am in the process of getting them replaced but trying to find solution for accountability by staff going forward. Can the dentures be signed off on a med record by nurse or in a log book by her aides shift to shift. Thinking of bringing these ideas to administration
      as I don’t want to do this again.
      Do u have any thoughts on these ideas or any others that I may suggest to administration?

  31. Carol Crno

    After only a few months in a care home my relative had his new bedside table taken from his room while he was in ICU. A few months later the new ROHO cushion on his new wheel chair has gone missing. A hard non-Roho cushion of a dead resident was left on his chair in palce of the expensive ROHO cushion we bought for him. Seems like theft to me.

  32. Pre

    A New York based company makes systems that helps nursing homes prevent loss of residents’ items. Many nursing homes in the U.S have this system. It’s called Scandent.

  33. Florence Mason

    This is happening to my sister who is in a nursing home after suffering a stroke. I am on this website searching for answers like you. The attendants at this nursing home have the nerve to say to me that my sister lost those missing items, eyeglasses, cell phone, etc. However, my sister is paralyzed on her left side and is in a wheelchair. I don’t think they are stealing as much as they are throwing the items away, i.e., in the bed linen, food tray, etc. Finally, I tried to explain if they were more careful and considerate, this would not happen.

  34. Veronica

    I would be interested in knowing if any research has been done in this area or if there are any policies you have come cross that could help in getting reimbursement for lost dentures. In my moms case she gave the PSW her dentures and asked her to put them in the container in the bathroom. Who know’s where they went but now my mom has no dentures and no means to get news ones.

  35. Joan McKinnon

    Yes mom 98 at ltc.. they have lost their hearing aids. Three timesin three years. They even sign for them when removed and put in nursing cart for night and sign them out again in morning. Last week set them on counter after signing for them…..lost…no one knows where they went. 5000$ to replace..again….. Worst part is she is totally deaf without them…cannot hear now and with dementia is twice as bad for her. Little to no sympathy from staff. Soooooo upsetting…

  36. Jesse Pineda

    My is sister is intellectually disabled and this is also a big problem regarding her clothes.I started buying her some more clothes when she no longer had nothing left hoping the missing clothes would be returned.Instead,the new clothes went missing and begin wearing awful garments that 3 or 4 sizes to big for her small frame.When I reported the issue it was obvious they were aware of the problem and did not care about it and cared about complainers even less. What hurts the most is I enjoy taking my sister out in public on week ends but cannot because of the clothes she has to wear.I believe her clothes are being thrown away in hopes of her just wearing a hospital gown which is much easier for the CNA after all they are the ones that dress her and undress her.

  37. Kate

    As an administrator, this is unfortunately an issue in most homes. While some of the issue is employee based we have found that the greater issue are other residents who are often confused and “shop” in rooms. It is so easy for items to be removed without an employee noticing and then tossed in a garbage can, then emptied by housekeeping unaware of the contents. While it is the responsibility of the home to create a culture of respect for resident’s belongings, families generally do bear the cost of “missing or lost” items. Each home must deal with such situations on a resident by resident basis and identify how to reduce or eliminate re-occurrances and engage the family in dialouge regarding risk, insurance and how to collaboratively find solutions. Ultimately, the home should identify that beyond the excessive replacement costs of these items, there is a quality of life issue for the resident. No care home is perfect, but it is how you support residents and families that make the difference. That culture is then passed along to employees who see their leadership team exemplifying resident focused care.

  38. tp

    I am a caregiver to my 99 yr old mother who has dementia/alzheimer. I had an accident and was forced to temporarily place mom in a respite care. Mom was a cheerful person, had a great appetite, not aggressive at all, mom loves everyone. It was her first time in a nursing home. My first encounter with administrators they asked a lot of questions and I was reassured that they had all the information to properly care for mom. The first week I noticed she slept a lot more than usual but I thought it can be the change of environment. Then I would learn bits here and there from various attendants. Not one of the many attendants had the same impression or information on mom. One told me that lady cannot walk do not get her up. Well I was surprised, she did walk with a walker with assistance of course. It started like this and then I noticed mom was being fed pureed food, was in diapers all the time (mom used to go to the bathroom with assistance). Then I learned she had been aggressive so they kept her sedated with antidepressant, in diapers in bed. No one told us except for some attendants. Other attendants would say they had no problem at all with mom, others had different opinions. I assumed mom would panic if rushed and being handled too abruptly. I observed some attendants being very caring and others just treating her like a bag of potatoe, do this to that and quick, no compassion, just doing a job and schedule. No human compassion. After several weeks, mom is back home, she has lost the little bit of leg tonus she had, she can no longer walk short distances, she rarely smiles. The nursing home destroyed her spirit, her dignity. I am certain she would no longer be with us had she stayed there. She lost her favorite teddy bear, her denture was broken, her hearing aid was found on the floor etc.. and no one ever took responsibility, they even dressed her up with someone else;s dress. Often when we visited her hearing aid battery was dead, so she would talk louder and of course this was disturbing others, so I can only assume they would sedate her to keep her quiet. She had a bad rash on her legs from soap, when I asked for her medicated leg cream, they did not know she needed it. I was surprised some attendant dressed her up that morning and never noticed the rash and just shoved the socks on her. Mom was scratching her legs in pain. All this information was in her file, allergy to soaps and prescribed cream for her rash??? I did not complain for fear of my mother being mistreated. I prayed that I could take her home before something terrible would hapen. It is very sad for elderly people who have no children to care for them. This experience has reinforced my negative thoughts on nursing homes. I am praying that I can care for mom to the end.

  39. Miranda

    Hi Debbie,

    I work in LTC as a CCA and soon to be LPN. The issue of lost items in nursing homes is very frustrating and one that is too common. I have here some words of wisdom and advice for families and separate advice for care workers.

    First of all, know that things will go missing. Obviously expensive items like dentures and glasses are more serious than socks and underclothing. I am not asking you to be okay with things being lost forever, but just know that this is something that will happen. Your loved one is in a new living arrangement with wanderers, overworked staff, under staffed sometimes, and stuff that looks like someone else’s stuff. Some nursing homes have night tables with a drawer and cupboard that can be locked. These tables are great for glasses, dentures, watches, shoes, etc. Keep important items at home (e.g. family ring, gold jewelry, etc). If items are missing, ask the staff to check the lost and found box. Offer to do the resident’s laundry, provide a laundry bag/hamper and a sign where the resident has their care done, and one in the tub room stating to put their clothing in the provided bag/hamper. Get insurance on expensive items if possible, and discuss policies with nursing home.

    If you are a worker and a family member approaches you with a list of lost items. Here are a few things you can do:
    Check for yourself the residents room, check their roomie’s drawers and closets too. Sometimes laundry or personal items might be placed on the wrong side of the room. Check the lost and found box with the family, if items are unmarked or tags fell off, replace them promptly. If new clothing items are brought in the home, label them promptly. Write a note in the nursing station to look out for items, include a description if possible. Place dentures in proper cup with resident’s name labelled on the container. If resident’s have a tendency to take their teeth out during naps and you find them in the bed sheets, write a note for report about taking the resident’s dentures out when they nap. Include a note in the room if needed (as a reminder for casual workers especially). Identify any wanderers who take things and be proactive as a team in ensuring they do not take things. If they do take things then return items to proper rooms.

  40. Karen W.

    Caring for other living beings is a calling. It can be a very difficult job as well as very rewarding. We allow poor training, very low wages/benefits and incomplete screening for those who perform the tasks required to look after our loved ones. And, let’s face it, there are also folks out there who should not really be caring for others. Long term care facilities are multi-faceted in-and-of-themselves. Families must advocate for their members in care. Things will go missing, for sure. Procedures set in place should have a time limit and contingency plans for resolution. Even missing slippers could cause more serious issues. I find the time to resolve the issue of missing items is a black hole and the importance of even the smallest missing thing is not appreciated by all staff. Perhaps the cost of the replacing the perpetually lost items should be a tax write-off with correlation to the particular nursing home. This could then be investigated as to which nursing homes do a poor job caring for the personal items of their clients and held responsible. Sometimes, just reporting on the fact can spurn changes on a larger scale. But it still all comes back to the people themselves and to us as family and friends. Perhaps the PSW function needs to be upgraded with more schooling and credentials required. We definitely need more funding from the federal government and more employees at the facilities. CCV cameras in all rooms may help in facilities where theft is prevalent. My personal solution was to buy a table at an auction that had places to ‘store’ items that may go missing. It seems to work. Mind you, my friend is in a private room, which may reduce the amount of missing items. He doesn’t wear glasses or dentures, so not yet an issue. We have located some small incidentals that went a.w.o.l, but we still can’t find the slippers ($120). On the other hand, my dad (with alzheimer’s) lives at home with my mum and we’ve caught him hiding newly purchased items in garbage cans and we still can’t find some stuff from Christmas just past. It’s all about being visible at the facility and communicative with the staff. Wow, what a heart wrenching subject. Love and concern to everyone who is struggling.

  41. Terry Williams

    I have heard of these items going missing in Australian Care Homes, although not affecting my family, even teeth being ground down.
    This is outrageous. If you can afford it, leave elderly people in their own homes with nursing aides.
    The quality of care in Nursing Homes is abysmal.

  42. Wychblade

    I work in a nursing facility and to be honest, some nursing staff doesn’t actually care. I mainly work in dementia wing (morning shift) and we all know that people with dementia always put their personal stuff like dentures and eyeglasses everywhere in the room (even in someone else’s room). Even in low and high risk wings, they also missing some personal staff and the resident’s family just had enough and transferred their love ones in another nursing home that they think it’s better. All nursing homes are the same. Some people just go to work to get paid and didn’t really care. It’s sad to admit but it’s the fact. I can’t imagine my mum would be living in a nursing home and something like this would happen to her.

  43. Donna

    Yes unfortunately my mother who has Dementia, is blind,and has arthritis has been a victim of the same and the nursing home refuses to take responsibility for personal property lost or missing for one reason or another.

  44. Patricia

    Hello. My father is in a nursing home in Collingwood On. Since going into this facility in March of 2017, he has had broken glasses, a broken hearing aid and now his brand new hearing aid of 3 weeks has gone totally missing. It cost us close to $3000.00. The staff is supposed to remove it each evening at bedtime and put it away safely till the morning. We have no idea when it went missing in the past 4 days since our last visit as no one bothered to call us. When we asked staff what happened we got different stories, so we are not even aware of what the truth is. So now my father cannot hear and keeps claiming the nurse took it and the nurse is saying he would not give it to them at bed-time. My question would be if that were the case why didn’t the nurse get another staff member to help her retrieve it. At this time all I can do is feel anger and cry at how things are handled. I am just so frustrated with lack of documentation and answers.

  45. Barbara hardy

    In los Angeles mothers things would come up missing she was not aware of it but we were we didn’t say anything we were afraid they wouldn’t take care of her my sister brought her back home to die my sister kept her for 3 yrs

  46. Caring RPN

    I spent almost an hour searching threw garbage bags to find a residents dentures he accidentally threw out into a Kleenex. I attentive and always observe my residents I apologize that the staff is not as observant and this keeps recurring for your mother and your family. Stories like this upset me, if apon hire they would find out if the individual really cared and shows compassion/empathy of caring for oneself let alone some one else than they should be given the privilege to help others. Once again im so sorry about your story.

  47. Amanda

    I work as a customer service director in a nursing home and I can tell you this is a very common problem. It is my job directly to take and follow up on all concerns in the building including lost items. I 100% understand the frustration for families when items, especially very expensive items go missing, and even more importantly, when they are a necessity like glasses, teeth hearing aids, etc. One thing however, some families sometimes do not take into account, and I am not saying this is your case because I do not know the whole circumstances, but, if the resident in question has dementia, they can be constantly taking item off and leaving them in other areas. Another resident can come along and pick it up. This can happen in a matter of minutes before any staff member has a chance to notice. We have a resident that is constantly taking her dentures out and leaving them places and staff are constantly having to go behind her and locate them. So, although it is easy to assume the staff are just negligent in taking care of your loved ones items. You must be able to look at the big picture.

    • beth liegel


      my husband is a dying veteran of the Vietnam war. he volunteered. he has had pneumonia, stroke, 2 heart attacks.

      done to him: shaved off ALL his hair and ALL his beard, against our will. i did not recognize him.

      given him dirty clothes, after stealing his, with mites in them. thus he got bitten up.

      stole $100 dollars of his clothes.. this in a brand new 2 Million dollar rest home. so as i was taking him out their social worker DESIGNEE — means she did not get any degree, screamed at me. made me cry in the restroom. asked him if he REALLY wanted to come home with his wife. REAL NICE…..

      now in va approved… contracted homes (a joke)

      first, had black and blue marks on arms and legs. i reported to POLICE. they came over every week and spoke with him. THEN both feet bled all over the top sheets. left one was a puncture wound left to be infected for 3 mos. right one large toenail hald wripped off. painful…..

      ALL $300 of his clothes stolen. they did leave 2 pails of slacks, wripped up both seams on the side. \

      SAD THINGS DANGEROUS THINGS when he went in his kidney function at my house was 1.1 when he got out of there it was 2.6 (4 being worst requiring kidney dialysis) THEN HE HAD a HEART ATTACK in front of me… i raced to give him an aspirin and got the paramedics. he landed in ICU with blood poisoning. got him on heavy antibiotics. the head of the ICU raced in ASAP.

      MY HUSBAND IS A FORMER FEDERAL JUDGE. makes no difference, could be the president of the us. I am NOT laughing….

      we are moving back to South
      Carolina where folks are more genteel. and neighbors will help me use our Hoyer Lift to keep him going. Got to save for a used van, va will not help us. THEY EVEN STOLE ALL

      i rarely cry, but that one made me cry in my car and i had to pull over.

      if i cant take care of him at home again, we will spend every cent we have on foster care and hope they let me take him home some weekends to play with his PUPPY.

      God Bless You All and your loved ones.. Beth
      and Robert

  48. Carol

    We have been dealing with nursing homes for eight years. My husband lost his mother due to catching c diff, heartbreaking. My father one infection after another due to his catheter bag constantly being on the floor. My father in law accused of touching a nurse inappropriately, he was falling and just reached for help. The coments crushed him. My mother was cussed at by a tech. We always keep a very close eye on all of them. Too many bad experience to mention. The homes we had them in were all in great location ,new pretty and staff all talk about how protective they were. They are all horrible. No respect for the elderly. And yes stealing is constant and it irratating problem. I’m so sorry you are going through this. It is so sad, but there is no one who really cares. Our govermentioned needs to change the laws to protect our remarkable elders. What ever happen to the quote respect your elderly.

  49. Anita

    My mother is in a nursing home in NJ. They charge $9.00 for the mandatory diapers. Rather than pay that I purchases boxes of 54 for $22.00 from Walmart and bring them there. Someone is now stealing her diapers. I bout 5 boxes the end of October before leaving for Florida for the winter. I don’t think they change her more than once a day, so they should have lasted until May when I returned. The second week of January, my brother said they were all gone, so I am guessing someone took at least 3 full boxes. I purchased more and instructed my brother to leave only one box at a time and to check each time he went to see how many were missing. Three days ago there were about 60 of them sitting on the shelf of her closet. Two days later they were all gone and they were telling him that he needed to bring more. This is clearly not a case of something being misplaced. It is total thievery. What kind of a horrible person steals someone’s diapers?

  50. Karen Matheson

    My Mother was also in a nursing home. She lived with me for eight years, but then she began to be mean. Slapping me in the face etc. I decided to put her in a nursing home. The first nursing home, she lost her hearing aid. They said she flushed it down the toilet. My Mother would not do that. She had her hearing aid for years before the nursing home and never once tried to get rid of it. I do believe the people that work there, or their helpers take the items, and sell them. A hearing aid whether new or used could bring someone a good amount of money. Most people take their hearing aides out at night and set them on their dresser so they can put them back in, in the morning first thing. I then moved my Mother to another nursing home, It was much better, but she did not have the hearing aid. I could not replace it, because of the amount of money they cost. My sister would not help with our Mother at all. My Mother has since passed, and despite all the trouble with nursing homes, I miss her terribly.
    This is an idea that I have, and would give someone an excellent job. Hiring an AP person, no uniform, but a badge. They could walk the halls, enter rooms to say “hello”, but really checking on patients and belongings.
    I, myself, was in a nursing home for two weeks, and had items stole from me that were in the closet. They have to have entered your room when your asleep, and take what they want. You are not aware of the loss till you go to pack to leave. The AP, Asset Protection, person could monitor who goes in and out of the rooms, and could verify at the time what is being taken out of the rooms especially at night. I awoke one night to find an employee going through my things. I asked her what she was doing. Said she was just checking. I told her that was not necessary and she could leave. Did not see her again during my stay. Things need to change. People are different, and don’t care. We need to not let them get away with taking our things.

  51. pamela alioto

    Pamela email I have had 20.00 dollars stolen a watch my ty packer bear my grandkids given me and a sweater i ordered and was dilivered here and never received. what can i do about this also other complaints about not getting my medications.

  52. Christa

    I just returned back after outing with my son find out they took something out of my bottom drawer today unbelievable we have a constitution of the United States the fourth amendment I can’t search and seizure it was unlawful for them to do this you need to report them you have rights even if you’re in Canada you should have rights I think this this is ridiculous this is happening you cant afford to keep replacing these items. But if they are that careless with your moms items I would come unannounced had a late time outside of visiting hours to see how they are caring for your mother because they probably are not caring for her properly as well :0(trust me I know I am in a place like this I see what goes on after visiting hours

  53. Kally

    Why????? Are we blaming the staff working in care homes if you so concerned things getting lost in care home why can’t you spend time with your mum or bad and care of his or things, instead of making stupid complaints about missing things, don’t care for your loved ones, but things getting lost (WOW)

  54. lost caring

    hello everyone, i have been in healthcare 27 years in several different facilities. it is so common for items to become missing no matter the different types of facilities given. environmental services is as close as we can be without direct care. i see first hand items come missing daily no matter how hard we try to keep this from happening to your loved ones it does happen. know one wants to own up to how or where when this happens because most of the time we don’t know. take for example 100 residents clothing items come missing from one or two persons daily and in most cases they are found but unable to id whom they belong to. one person retrieves these thinking they belong to someone but end up in the wrong place or with the wrong person then that persons name ends upon it. this is so hard to id unless the facility provides a direct care person to each individual. worked in one facility where they kept the same care givers in the same assignment, same housekeepers and housekeepers were responsible for personal laundry they were aware of most patients more than direct care, for 1.5 years in a 245 bed facility did we have one lost item that was reported missing 6 weeks after it was found this was upon discharge, most facilities provide a policy to this happening but it is hard to be responsible for all lost items and in a lot of cases storage for lost items of clothing. i have seen monies, watches, rings hearing aids and even glasses in the drains of washers or even in driers. i have went dumpster diving for dentures and hearing aids some successful some not and most times these items are found bound by paper towels or tissue and in some cases in dietary in cups so having a loved one experience this also indicates that life does happen things do become lost and in some cases items become donated to someone else. being thankful for those last few moments with the ones you love not only family but the patients we care for is worth any material item that may become lost. if i could i would replace everything that everyone lost but we cant but we can care.

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