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Loss of personal items adds to family’s grief

My mother passed away last Thursday. She was a resident of a local long-term care facility and had been moved to its hospice care unit. In the move to the hospice unit, her belongings were packed up by the facility and moved into a storage unit on the premises. When we picked up her things, we noticed right away that two items were missing: her purse and the dress she was going to be buried in.

We were told that the purse had been locked in the social worker’s office at the time of the move to hospice. In talking with the social worker, we were told that the purse had never been in the social worker’s office. We finally found the purse, however, it was empty. There was nothing of value in the purse; it was that we were misled about the handling of it. The dress, which is still missing, is one of sentimental value; she wore it to her grandson’s wedding. It was nothing fancy or expensive and we can get another dress to bury her in, but we trusted that it would be safe in the nursing home’s care.

We have also found that some of her undergarments have gone missing, including her mastectomy bras and breast prosthesis, all of which were custom made for her. It saddens me to think that those caring for my mother could behave so badly as to possibly take things of no value to them, causing aggravation and frustration to the family in addition to the grief that we are experiencing. For those who have family members in a long-term care facility, please keep a careful watch on their belongings and remove those things that have value, whether sentimental or monetary. You never know what might happen.

Amy Dolce

Tonawanda