Two of the most common problems experienced by residents of nursing homes are loss
or theft of personal items. Missing items may include clothing, dentures, eyeglasses,
jewelry, radios, televisions, money, food and similar possessions. Loss of a personal
possession is always upsetting. For nursing home residents, it adds to existing feelings
of insecurity, loss of dignity and self-worth.
All Georgia nursing homes must:
- Give residents reasonable space for personal possessions and allow residents to
retain and use personal clothing and possessions as this space permits.
- Provide for the safekeeping of personal possessions and funds, as requested by residents,
except for personal property which would impose an unreasonable burden on the nursing
- Have procedures for marking, laundering, ironing and mending clothing of each resident.
- Individually store clothing of each resident.
- Have an inventory system for resident clothing in order to prevent and control loss or theft
insofar as possible.
- It is important not to assume that a missing item has been stolen. As in your own
home, it is possible to misplace an item and not be able to find it. Many times a
cooperative search effort by staff and resident or family will turn up the missing
- If theft is suspected, a report should be filed with the administrator of the facility.
A report to the police should also be considered. Although the police may have
difficulty gathering sufficient evidence to prove theft, their involvement may help
deter future problems.
- Ask the facility to replace the item. As noted earlier, Georgia nursing homes
must allow residents to retain and use personal possessions. Georgia law
creates an obligation on the facility which cannot be waived by the provisions in
the home's admission contract. Most facilities carry insurance to cover loss or
theft. You should urge them to file a claim or compensate you in some other way.
- Check coverage under your Homeowner's Insurance policy. It is possible that it
may cover losses in a nursing home. If not, you might want to see if the policy
can be extended so coverage will be available in the future.
- As a last resort, file a claim in Small Claims Court. Small Claims Courts are a
division of District Courts. These courts handle claims of up to $5,000 in a
simple and informal manner. Attorneys are not needed or allowed to practice in
Small Claims Court and filing fees are very reasonable. If you feel that you
should be compensated by a long term care facility which refuses to do so, Small
Claims Court will provide you an opportunity to have your case heard without
great expense. More details about Small Claims Court can be obtained at your
County Clerk's office.
The information contained in this web site applies
only to GEORGIA, USA. It is intended only as INFORMATION
and does not constitute legal ADVICE, nor does
reading, downloading or otherwise using this site create an
attorney-client relationship. Anyone seeking specific legal advice
should contact an attorney licensed in the appropriate state, and should
never rely upon the information provided herein, or any other web site,
for that matter.