A way to help residents keep belongings safe

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Wendy Knecht
Wendy Knecht

I am not an accomplished nurse or healthcare professional, nor do I have a background in administration as did most of the amazing attendees I met at the recent NADONA conference in Anaheim. However, as the wife of a physician, I've witnessed the stress of being in the medical industry, specifically the intense pressure of being accountable for every aspect of a patient's care.

I also am a bag designer, with a specialty in organization. I have spent a good decade designing and promoting organization to companies I have licensed or sold my products to, as well as promoting my own designs and other company's products on QVC.

I combined these interests into designing the KareBag as the answer to helping patients and residents keep their own personal items within reach, to reduce anxiety, and to make their whole experience in a care setting better. Quite simply, the KareBag is meant to make patients happy by giving them a feeling of control over their environment and keeping their precious belongings within their reach.

In hospitals and senior care facilities, I have spoken to many patients, and visited friends and family members. I had always noticed how crowded the tray was, and how newspapers and personal items were spread throughout the room. I've heard the frustrated comments and I've also fetched many items for people while I was visiting them.

Ironically, I knew I was on the right track when my mother was rushed to the hospital with a broken hip. While she was in surgery, she had the very unfortunate experience of having her dentures thrown out (yes, they were in the green container). It was devastating, as you can imagine, when we discovered she had no teeth, on top of the awful surgery she had just endured. I don't think anyone appreciates how emotionally difficult this experience is until it happens to one of your own loved ones.

Miraculously, the hospital sent a dentist out the following morning, he made impressions, and she was presented with a new set of teeth within three days of the incident. My family and I have been forever grateful, but the cost to the hospital was great, and whole incident could have been avoided by the use of KareBag.

The risk manager at the hospital estimated they had spent about $8,000 making reparations for this dental mishap. When she found out about the KareBag, she immediately ‘got it' and contacted the CNO. I'm proud to say that the KareBag is now hanging in that hospital.

Long-term care administrators and directors of nursing, not to mention clinical staff, have likely also seen items such as denture, hearing aids, or eye glasses become misplaced, or thrown out. A KareBag, given to a resident at admission can help the resident take ownership of personal items, keep the bed tray cleaner, and prevent a lot expense and aggravation on the part of the facility.

I know that KareBag is not a panacea for all risk situations, but it is a little thing that can make a big difference.  It is a simple tool that can help to eliminate unfortunate losses, and very importantly, makes the stay a more pleasant experience for the patient and resident.  

Promoting safety, loss of personal items, saving the nurse's time, along with creating a lot of good will, is what the KareBag is all about.

Wendy Knecht is the founder of KareBag.  

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