My mother, who is in her late 70’s and lives in an elder care facility, recently fell and broke her hip. After surgery, she was moved to a nursing home to recover, which appeared to be a lovely facility. As it had both a recovery unit and independent living quarters, I even thought that this might be a great place for her to live after she was fully mobile again.
When I went to visit her this weekend, I was beyond shocked when I entered her room and found her only clothed in a pair of Depends and a hospital gown. When I asked her why she didn’t have her clothing on, she kept insisting that she didn’t have any. I reminded her that I had just bought her some comfortable new jeans and tops which were right in the closet in the room. After arguing back and forth, I flung open the closet door only to find that it was empty!
It took me a few moments to regain my composure and start to consider where these garments could have disappeared to. When I confronted an employee, I couldn’t seem to get a straight answer. After much questioning, as I got more and more insistent, he said that her clothing was being laundered. ALL of it I asked? And what was she supposed to wear meanwhile? Oh, they would clothe her in a hospital gown, he replied. What about when she goes to the dining room to eat? He replied that they would put a second gown over the first, reversing it so her backside would also be covered. To say I was appalled and angry didn’t even begin to cover it. He suggested that I visit one of the social workers to see if her clothes could be tracked down and even tried to place the blame on my shoulders, saying that I should have marked each item of clothing with her name in a permanent marker – something that was never brought up to me by the staff.
While I had heard that personal items may “disappear” in some care facilities, I had never imagined anything like this. Now I will have to go out and purchase new clothing, and, of course, will insist that I will pick up and launder her clothes. Meanwhile, if these items never show up again, shouldn’t the facility have to reimburse us? Who takes responsibility? I work full time and my brothers live out-of-state, so I am the one handling all of this. While making arrangements for my mom after her fall have been very stressful, now I will have to police her possessions and run back and forth doing laundry. Finding a different facility would be difficult and moving her again would be traumatic for her. Has anyone put their parent into a retirement facility & had this happen? WHAT DID YOU DO?