Patient Belongings and Valuables. Stacey Sands BSN, RN Kelly Thompson BSN, RN-BC November 2012. Goal and Objectives. Goal: To familiarize staff with changes in the philosophy and management of patient belongings and valuables. Objectives:
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Stacey Sands BSN, RN
Kelly Thompson BSN, RN-BC
Goal: To familiarize staff with changes in the philosophy and management of patient belongings and valuables.
Helping patients keep track of their belongings is a daily challenge and, in the past, there have been several ways that belongings have been handled at Munson.
The primary focus of the NEW “Patient Personal Belongings and Valuables” Policy #042.P001is to:
Belongings – any personal essential item that needs to be at the bedside. This includes glasses, contacts, hearing aids, dentures, wigs, or ambulatory aides such as a brace, cane, or walker.
Belongings = Bedside
Valuables – any item that needs to be locked up for safety. This includes, but is not limited to, wallets, money, important papers, jewelry, electronic devices (cellphones, mp3 players, computers), legal medications, and items that have sentimental value. Space to store patient valuables is limited . Staff should encourage patients to send valuables home whenever possible.
Valuables = Safe
The hospital will not accept responsibility for items that are kept at the bedside.
Patients need to be informed of this upon admission to the unit. This discussion takes place at the patient’s bedside with the unit staff.
A good time to mention this is when you introduce the Patient and Visitor Guide.
It notes “Managing Your Belongings” on page 4.
Encourage your patient to send their valuables home!
Items that are needed at the bedside will be stored in a container that has been labeled with the patient’s ID. These essential items are documented on the Belongings Form in the patient’s chart.
Additionally, a personal belongings bag is provided and tagged with the patient’sID label for those items they wish to keep in their room, such as clothes and shoes needed for when they are discharged.
The belongings bag will read:
“The hospital is not responsible for personal belongings. Please send home belongings with family.”
NEW- Only certain necessary belongings are inventoried. Notice that it is required that the belongings policy be discussed with the patient/family. If this is not possible, you may select “Pt/family unavailable for belongings discussion.” If valuables are sent to the safe, it is documented on this form.
NEW- If “Pt/family unavailable for belongings discussion” is selected, a task will fire in 4 hours to remind the nurse to review the belongings form and reassess the ability to discuss the belongings policy with patient or family.
This task looks exactly like the admission task, but details are different.
If there is a change in disposition of belongings during that patient stay, open a new Belongings Form and make any necessary updates. Do NOT modify the original Belongings Form. This allows belongings to be tracked more accurately.
Do NOT modify the Belongings Form.
Open a new one!
When it is not possible for a patient to send their valuables home, a “valuables envelope” will be provided. This indicates that the valuables were surrendered to MMC, sealed in an envelope, labeled with the patient’s ID, and secured in a safe in the Nursing Administration office. Items too large to fit into the envelope (such as a laptop computer) can still be stored in the safe.
NEW - It is important to note that valuables are not itemized or inventoried. Rather, items are placed in the envelope, in the presence of the patient, and sealed. The patient signs the seal of the envelope. If the patient is unable to sign, two (2) staff members will sign the seal.
This change in practice will decrease liability and workload for the nursing team staff.
A Valuables in Safe sticker may be placed on the front of the patient chart to serve as reminder.
During the patient stay, the valuables envelope may be returned to the patient. The patient must:
Upon discharge, the nursing team member must:
The patient can present the “Patient Valuables Record Form” to Nursing Administration to authorize pick-up. The release note must be signed and the envelope is returned unopened.
Upon discharge, use the link on the Discharge Note to access the Belongings Form. From here you can indicate that belongings from the bedside and valuables from the safe have been sent home with the patient.
Many times, patients bring their medications to the hospital. Names of the meds brought from home should be noted in the chart, but the actual medications should be returned home. If that is not possible, they need to be in the valuables envelope.
NEW - The safe is now in the Nursing Administration office.
Please be aware that any illegal drugs, medical marijuana and/or bottles of medicines that are prescribed for someone other than the patient will be disposed of according to policy.
See the Weapons and Contraband (including Search Procedure) Policy # 041.013 for more information.
Belongings and valuables for all suicidal patients should be managed per Management of the Suicidal Patient Policy #070.012.
Regarding suicidal patients in the patient care areas:
If patient belongings are brought to the nursing unit they should be sent home with family or designee at the time of admission. If patient belongings must remain on site, they should be bagged and labeled, then sent to the Nursing Administration office. Valuables will be managed per Patient Personal Belongings and Valuables Policy #042.P001.
Valuables and belongings will be returned to the patient at the time when the patient is evaluated as no longer at harm to self or others, or upon discharge. Family/visitors must be instructed not to bring personal items in to the patient.
Remember, the primary focus of the updated “Patient Personal Belongings and Valuables” Policy #042.P001is to: