Archive September 2018 XIX, No. 9

Ideas That Work: Where Do You Store Patient Belongings?

GOOD NEIGHBORS
Pamela Bevelhymer, RN, BSN, CNOR
SAFE KEEPING It's best to store patient belongings in PACU or deliver them to a family member in the waiting area.

Do you permit patient belongings beyond the unrestricted area of the OR — say, for example, placing the patient's belongings in a clear plastic bag underneath the gurney so it travels with the patient before, during and after surgery? This might not be a good idea. "There have been issues with cell phones recording conversations and clothing with bed bugs," says a nurse leader.

Most facilities either store belongings in the recovery area or place the items in a plastic belongings bag and document in the chart that they gave it to a family member for safe keeping. Besides the risk of infection, there are safety and security concerns to consider as well.

"We don't want to be responsible for having the patient's wallet, purse, money or any other valuables," says a facility manager.

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