Missing items after one week in the nursing home. Any advice?

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My mom went into rehab nursing care last week at a highly recommended facility. One DAY after admission her slacks ended up in their laundry and are nowhere to be found. (A sign was up letting everyone know I am doing her laundry - if anyone bothered to look.) Three DAYS later a pullover she loved went missing, and just yesterday her walker (adjusted for her) went missing. I told the nurses and social services director, but no one can be bothered to really look. I was allowed to look through the unclaimed laundry, but items were not there. Apparently they were already given to another resident. I do understand everyone is busy and mistakes happen, but the attitude was "Oh, well, this happens." and "We have new staff.". Wouldn't it behoove the facility to make sure everything coming in with a new patient is labelled immediately and that staff is expected to make sure people get their own clothes and especially equipment back? And if something ends up in the laundry by accident, wouldn't it send a lesson to the staff if the person who put it in the laundry had to go find it? Pain is a powerful agent for change! There is no sense that anyone is looking at all or that responsibility is being taken by anyone. This is kind of a little thing, but it makes me feel like the staff is asleep at the wheel. Should I give it more time or should I complain to the administrator, whom I met yesterday evening? My dad was in a different NH for 3.5 years. He got great care, and lost ONE item of clothing and no equipment. My mom can't come back to our home, and now I'm thinking if the clothes and especially the walker are not located soon, it may be a small sign the facility is not run very well. Maybe I should look at another NH sooner rather than later for her long term care?

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Forget the nurses and social services director - go directly to the Director of Nursing or Administrator, with a written notification. You can even bring your copy of the issues/complaints and when you deliver it, visibly make a notation on your copy of the delivery time and the person(s) to whom it was delivered. They'll know you're documenting. That sometimes shakes people up.

Also request a meeting to discuss the issues; go with a list of lost items. You could casually let them see that you have a list of missing items, dates gone missing, people with whom you spoke, action or inaction, follow-up dates and resolution dates. You could also bring charge slips or bills for items they’ve lost and ask HOW they plan to reimburse your mother.

Ask them what THEY plan to do to locate these items now and what they'll do to ensure this doesn't happen in the future. Write down or tape record everything they say. Wouldn't hurt to even have a friend accompany you to record answers.

Be firm but also point out that you want to get these issues resolved now so that your mother’s stay can be as helpful as possible and that the issues don’t become so insurmountable that you have to move her.

Sometimes things don't happen unless they realize you aren't going to tolerate incompetence.

Normally equipment from home isn't allowed, so I assume the walker was one that was assigned to her. Label it as well as property of the facility but assigned to your mother in room xyz. If she doesn’t have another walker adjusted for her height by the time you visit the next time, remind them of their liability if she falls.

You can also take the "disappointment" approach - the facility came highly recommended, Mom has only been there x number of days and already there are problems. You're wondering (a) if such a good recommendation was false or inaccurate, and (b) whether you made a mistake. You can mention as well that misrepresentations and poor treatment aren't issues that remain secrets - just kind of hint that you'll take more aggressive action but don’t let them know what action – keep them wondering.

There should also be an ombudsperson in your state who addresses nursing home problems. Contact him or her; sometimes their involvement can help.
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Of course it is up to the family to label all their loved ones items. (Don't forget hearing aides and dentures!) I also wish assisted living places would be more up front about things they do/do not provide, from tissues and incontinence supplies to dietary supplements and specialty foods. My sis often tells me of families (and yes, even discharge staff at hospitals) who have no idea that assisted living is really just independent living with meals and housekeeping. Often extra care needed can be provided, but it it must be approved by administration and paid for.
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Or summer camp.
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Kind of funny. We are just in the beginning phases of preparing for a move. I asked whether the facility has a list of suggested items to bring things to do, like label clothing, almost like sending a kid off to college.
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Start a paper trail. If there are e-mail accounts, write to the people in charge. If no e-mail, then write letters and submit. Make calls on your cell phone. I called the staff on my cell phone from my father's room once. Everyone came running. Label everything you can, take pictures of the clothing and equipment. Submit a list of clothing to the person in charge. Continue to do the laundry yourself.
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Well, I assume you've since labeled all of her clothes and possessions? If not, do it today. Is there a clothes hamper in her room? If so, put a sign on the lid that says, "FAMILY DOES LAUNDRY!"

Tell the nursing home Admin that your mom's walker was taken either by another resident or staff -- thinking it belonged to the facility. Request a replacement be loaned to mom until it's found. Label it: ON LOAN TO (MOM). Do not remove.

Takes a while to figure out the ropes. Too bad they didn't provide family with orientation material. These things I've mentioned here are pretty much standard operating procedure in most facilities.
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