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North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services


How to Help Prevent Theft in a Long Term Care Facility

Many individuals moving into a long term care facility experience a sense of losing their identity as they adapt to a larger unfamiliar environment that is bustling with caregivers trying to meet care schedules and attend to personal needs of a large group of residents.† This can be compounded by the fact that the person moving into a long term care facility must also leave behind many of their personal belongings they have enjoyed as part of their identity for years.† What few precious belongings a person is able to move with them to the facility may take on significantly new meaning and level of importance because they represent the special memories for the person.† Important belongings now may be a ring, piece of clothing, a loved afghan or pictures.† Loss of a personal object that is important to a resident can take away from a personís sense of well being and security in their new surroundings.† We have provided a checklist below with suggestions that may help safeguard a residents personal property against theft or loss in a long term care facility.

image of a check markCHECKLIST

  • Document a personal inventory of all items upon admission into a facility.†
  • Each item on the personal inventory should include an estimated value.
  • Have items of great value formally appraised and keep documentation in a safe place outside of the facility.
  • Give the business office in the facility a copy of the residentís personal inventory document to keep in the residentís business record. †Separate from the medical record.†
  • Keep the residentís personal inventory document updated when new items are brought into or removed from the facility.
  • Use commonsense.† Do not leave money and jewelry lying out in public view.
  • Mark, tag or engrave personal belongings.† This includes dentures, glasses, canes, walkers, televisions, radios, books and bedding.†
  • Tag prosthetic devises for ease of identification.†
  • Use call bell to alert staff if an uninvited guest tries to enter your room.
  • Report missing items immediately to social worker or administrator of the facility.†
  • Write a letter to the administrator requesting action be taken to recover or replace the missing item.††
  • Keep copies of any correspondence to facility staff.†

If the missing items are of great value, do not hesitate to call the police and report the theft.