The challenges of managing patient property
Although patients are not encouraged to take personal possessions with them into hospital, inevitably many do. The loss of patient property is an ongoing issue in many UK hospitals, causing distress and inconvenience to patients at a time when they are already feeling vulnerable. Missing hearing aids, glasses, and dentures affect communication between patients and medical staff and makes it harder for them to understand their treatment plans, while the loss of sentimental items, such as wedding rings or other items of jewellery, can be incredibly distressing.
A legal responsibility
By law, NHS Trusts must implement measures to ensure that patients’ possessions are looked after, so most hospitals have a patient property policy that outlines how valuables will be stored and what steps will be taken should items go missing. The policy should consider how patients’ possessions may arrive in hospital: some patients will be brought in by ambulance in an emergency, unable to identify what items they are carrying; families may bring in possessions for personal use during an extended in-patient stay; and some patients may have limited mental capacity to know which possessions belong to them.
The loss of patients’ belongings causes numerous problems, including lost time, damaged trust, and financial reparations. In one NHS Trust alone, over £273,000 was paid to patients and their families as compensation for lost possessions over a five-year period – money that could be better spent on improving patient care.
How patient property bags can keep patients’ belonging safe
At TSG, our SmartSafe ™ Patient Property Bags are designed to store patients’ possessions securely for the duration of their hospital stay. A simple yet highly effective solution, our patient property bags are uniquely identifiable and large enough to accommodate the most valuable or important possessions, giving patients and their families confidence that the belongings are safely stored.
- Large enough to hold jewellery, glasses, dentures, hearing aids, mobile phones, and shoes.
- Clear so the contents can be easily seen.
- Features a secure seal to prevent items from accidentally falling out.
- Tamperproof to deter theft of valuable possessions.
- Confidential, with a unique barcode that identifies the owner without this information being publicly available.
By investing in SmartSafe ™ Patient Property Bags, your hospital will benefit from:
- Improved use of time, as staff won’t have to investigate lost property enquiries.
- Lower compensation claims, so funds can be spent on patient care instead.
- Improved patient-staff relationships, with greater trust in healthcare professionals.
- Reduced fraudulent claims against staff.
Contact us to find out more
If you would like to find out more about how SmartSafe ™ Patient Property Bags can improve your hospital’s patient property management, please call TSG Associates on 01422 380097.