"No responsibility by Royal Adelaide Hospital for lost property"

About: Royal Adelaide Hospital / Emergency Department

(as a relative),

Early this year (2014), my elderly father had a fall at home. As a result, he was taken by ambulance to the Royal Adelaide Hospital for treatment of suspected fractures to several ribs and vertebrae. I felt that the care and treatment he received in Emergency was prompt, professional and thorough. NB. though having to tell his story to 5-6 different health professionals was a little stressful for him and probably taking QA too far, but that's another story - an important efficiency story for our struggling hospital network! ! When it was determined at 2. 30am the next morning that my father would be admitted, I left him comfortably resting. Critical to this story, I left him with BOTH of his hearing aids in place. When my brother and I visited Dad in the ward later that day, he had only ONE of his hearing aids. We raised this with the nursing staff who were caring for my father who said that sometimes little things like that can get caught up in bed clothes and the like on transfer. They said they would conduct a search and let us know if/when the hearing aid was located. After several days, they conceded that the aid had been lost and could not be found. I then spoke with the nurse manager of the ward who indicated that he would (the next time I came in) provide me with a form to claim compensation for the loss. Despite my requests, on each subsequent visit to the ward, no form was presented. After chasing the form and the nurse manager for 2 weeks, he eventually spoke with me and said that there was no form after all and I had to contact the hospital's General Services Office about the loss. That same day, late February, I wrote to the General Services Office about the lost hearing aid. Four weeks passed and we received no contact from that Office. I then received a written reply, by letter, which I felt ostensibly shrugged off the matter in a very insulting and uncaring fashion, and seemingly with no understanding or appreciation of the Emergency Department environment and procedures or of the effect of pain relief medication on physical and cognitive function. The letter in part read "a thorough search has been conducted but nothing has been found" and "upon the investigation the CSC advised us that [my father] had no cognitive or major physical limitations limiting him from looking after his own property" and "it is hospital policy that patients and patient minders are responsible for their own belongings and the Royal Adelaide Hospital will not take responsibility for the lost hearing aid". I think this blame-shifting on to a drugged-up, frail old man is disrespectful, insulting and very poor form. That lost has ultimately cost my pensioner parents very dearly! !

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