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Have you ever experienced ‘lost’ items at a care home?

(46 Posts)
Mamissimo Tue 10-Jul-18 19:36:36

Following my Mum’s death yesterday I went to the care home this morning, at their request, to clear her room.

When Mum entered the sunshine home ( real name camouflaged, price outrageous) we signed an inventory of her belonginings and photos of her important jewellery we’re taken.

Today the home couldn’t find her wedding ring, engagement ring, gold Omega watch, her TV......the list goes on. Worryingly they acknowledged that photos were originally in her file but they aren’t there now.

They are rated outstanding by the CQC but don’t have a procedure or policy for looking after valuables when vulnerable people can no longer have them. I was told Mums rings were taken from her so that she couldn’t choke on them......but they’re not in the safe and no one can find them.

If you’ve ever experienced something like this what did you do?

Mamissimo Tue 10-Jul-18 19:37:34

Were taken! We need an edit!

MissAdventure Tue 10-Jul-18 19:39:37

You would be perfectly within your rights to take this further.
They should have a written, and regularly reviewed policy regarding other peoples' belongings.
I think I would write to the home manager in the first instance.

grannyactivist Tue 10-Jul-18 20:02:46

This would be taken extremely seriously in the Care Home I visit as Chaplain. We have policies and procedures in place to deal with items going 'missing' as set out below:
If there is any evidence or suspicion that theft has occurred, the issue must be thoroughly investigated by [named person]. All action taken in response to allegations, evidence or investigations of theft must be carried out in accordance with the home's established policies and procedures. Actions taken must be recorded and reported, if necessary, to the CQC.
Where there is evidence of theft then the case should be reported to the police at the earliest opportunity and the home should follow the agreed disciplinary procedures.

In your shoes I would ask to see the relevant policies and procedures, whether the missing items are covered by the Home's insurance and, lastly whether they intend to report the missing items to the police. I would be prepared to act decisively if you feel you are being fobbed off and most certainly would be prepared to report this to the CQC and the police. Do NOT sign anything until this is resolved; the home will most likely want you to sign their indemnity form to say that items from the deceased have been released to you.

Squiffy Tue 10-Jul-18 20:04:08

We recently went through a similar situation, although the resident was still alive. The resident's room was searched, but no luck. Miraculously hmm after the Manager was informed - by us - the rings suddenly appeared in the resident's room!! This left a bad taste and was a shame because the care had been very good.

In your case, I would definitely take it further, especially as multiple items have gone awol. Do you have copies of the photographs that were taken?

grannyactivist Tue 10-Jul-18 20:04:14

The CQC take these things very seriously and so should the home.

annsixty Tue 10-Jul-18 20:07:56

I would never have allowed those things to be taken to the care home but it's easy to be wise after the event.
My H recently had 2 weeks respite care and goes again next week.
Apart from some clothes which went missing and some that came home with him which were not his we had no problems.He took a cheap watch and doesn't wear any jewellery so none to lose.
Only mishap,his wallet got put through the washer and his £20 note which is all the money he ever carries as he doesn't understand money any more,came out pale blue.

PECS Tue 10-Jul-18 20:10:08

Either the items are "in a safe place" & subsequently mislaid but seems unlikely as it includes a TV or they have been misappropriated/ stolen. The TV is odd though!
Certainly don't sign anything that suggests you are ok with situation.
They must have a complaints procedure which you could use but if you think it is theft it needs to be reported to police.

muffinthemoo Tue 10-Jul-18 20:16:31

Sign nothing, complain to home and CQC, if nothing is “suddenly found” contact police.

I’m sorry you are having to deal with this on top of your loss.

loopyloo Tue 10-Jul-18 20:29:41

Mamissimo, this is outrageous. I would contact the manager as soon as possible. And would think about contacting the police. If people know this is being investigated things might reappear.
And at the very least will deter people from stealing things in the future.

Auntieflo Tue 10-Jul-18 20:38:11

Do you have copies of the photos that were taken, and put in a file? If so, very often, I believe, especially if digital, they can contain date and time evidence, to show when you took the pictures. Looking at your post again, it sounds as though the care home may have photographed the items.

Mamissimo Tue 10-Jul-18 20:49:46

Good advice here - this outstanding home hasn’t asked me to sign anything....yet! They took the photos when Mum moved in. It was really challenging to get her into care but SS were adamant it had to be done. If I’d tried to remove her rings we would never have got her into the car!

She was moved into a smaller quieter room a few months ago and we are missing all kinds of items that I daftly assumed has been put in store. Funnily enough it is everything that was nice and desirable that is missing.....

I am going to escalate this up to the top bod because the manager of the dementia unit was totally unable to assist me or shed any light on the whereabouts of Mums contractual file!

SpringyChicken Tue 10-Jul-18 20:53:55

Report it to the police.

annsixty Tue 10-Jul-18 21:20:39

How can a television be mislaid?

Melanieeastanglia Tue 10-Jul-18 21:49:07

I am so sorry for you. This is appalling and I feel you should definitely take it further. You could involve the Police, I think. I suppose it's a question of proving things though.

OldMeg Wed 11-Jul-18 05:37:37

I agree. You need to get some action on this within 24 hours or you inform them you are going to the police.

Willow500 Wed 11-Jul-18 05:51:06

How distressing - it's sad enough to lose your mum without all this added worry. Definitely it needs reporting to someone higher up - small items do get mislaid sometimes - my mum was forever losing her hearing aid which completely disappeared eventually and also a hearing amplifier I bought vanished and was eventually found in the residents lounge. As she was immobile and unable to talk I don't know how it got there. A TV is not that easily misplaced however or missing information from a file which sounds very suspicious. If you don't get anywhere with a higher authority I would contact the police - it might not just your mum's stuff - there could be other residents possessions misappropriated too.

cornergran Wed 11-Jul-18 05:51:39

Yes, please do report this serious breach. The CQC should be told irrespective of outcome and the police if the items are not returned to you immediately. No one should be faced with this situation especially when bereaved. I’m sorry you have this additional pressure to cope with and can only hope all is soon resolved.

Caledonai14 Wed 11-Jul-18 06:38:09

You have great strength and it must be hard to deal with the disappearance of something like your mum's rings at a time when there is so much else to attend to and you are grieving. I hope these items can be found and that it has all been a mistake, but you are right to pursue it and I think the home should be giving you more support .... for their own sake as well as yours.

BlueBelle Wed 11-Jul-18 06:40:08

Definitely report to the police This is appalling and needs addressing or could be replicated to others
My mum had various items of clothing go missing but she didn’t have anything of value with her
What a shame to add this to the horrid time you go through when losing a parent
I do hope they take you seriously as it’s a VERY serious situation

absent Wed 11-Jul-18 06:44:58

When my mother was in respite care, the money – not a lot – that I had put in her purse for the hairdresser and any special treat that she wanted disappeared. I didn't do anything about it when I collected her to bring her home but I was cross. There was also an occasion when she had her handbag with her when she was admitted to hospital. When I came to collect her to bring her home, her purse was empty.

Special jewellery, in particular, and other possessions are another matter and I think you should pursue this matter.

loopyloo Wed 11-Jul-18 06:45:27

Yes there is a tea leaf in action. Write a list of what has gone missing speak to the manager and also the police.

Mamissimo Thu 12-Jul-18 18:19:46

I made an official complaint to the home’s general manager yesterday morning, regarding the missing jewellery and furnishings. My SiL, an ex policeman very kindly called the home and asked if he could spend some quiet time reflecting on Mum in her room. He was able to photograph the contents of the room for me, and the belongings we had already removed, so that if the inventory in her record ever does turn up we can show what was left and what had with a digital signature.

The manager’s anxiety was palpable because she had to see my line of thinking re a possible thief on the staff who was also altering records. They are searching and investigating and I will receive an update on Monday.

If they can’t explain or produce the items I will be reporting it to the police. I will comment to the CQC once I have received their answers to the questions I posed.

I don’t think I’ve ever been so angry! I need to peruse this to the end because I don’t want anyone else to suffer this.

MissAdventure Thu 12-Jul-18 18:25:50

Good for you, Mamissimo.

Mamissimo Thu 12-Jul-18 18:28:46

Persue! ......and the final tally seems to be a tv, a nest of gplan tables, a brass standard lamp, an antique French copper cache pot, some studio pottery and the jewellery! The furnishings were supposed be in store....but can’t be found.