Visitors that are drinking in patient rooms......What do I do? - page 2

Recently we had a patient who was not expected to live more than a few days, and she was actually dying from cirrhosis of the liver, brought on from years of alcohol abuse. Her visitors actually brought alcohol to the room and... Read More

  1. 0
    This is a no brainer. Call security.

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  2. 0
    I was tempted at first, to go the "call security" route. That would have gotten them out of my hair.
    However that could lead then, to a "driving under the influence" citation (best case scenario); or worst case, there's an accident and someone also dies.....

    Hospitals need to have a crisis intervention plan for this, and a set procedure for best outcome. The dying patient's needs aren't for decorum in the room, or to have a hushed, reverential gathering of their clan. There is a need for consideration of others. ETOH is an illness, and other illnesses have a procedure called, "stay home if you're acutely ill".

    Since most people deny being very ill, a family member (who isn't "under the influence") needs to call a family friend to arrange to drive "partiers" home, separately for safety's sake. Tell them that the choice is a police escort to jail, or a friend who will take the drunks home. Use security for backup, if needed.
    Last edit by lamazeteacher on Aug 21, '13 : Reason: Clarity
  3. 2
    Quote from innocence13
    Recently we had a patient who was not expected to live more than a few days, and she was actually dying from cirrhosis of the liver, brought on from years of alcohol abuse. Her visitors actually brought alcohol to the room and were drinking, acting out loudly and causing a huge commotion during visiting hours while other families were also having visitors. So, what would you do?
    Does your facility charge a corkage fee? You might suggest that to the administration, as a revenue generator.


    But seriously, I'd ask them to stop and if they didn't, I'd call sek-yo-tay. Not so much for the letter-of-the-law ETOH violation, but because they were "causing a huge commotion". And to CYA.
    MunoRN and puppyrunner like this.
  4. 0
    My facility has a specific policy in our P&P manual addressing disruptive visitors, and we follow it. It involves security eventually escorting people out if they don't settle down when asked to, and, if that happens, not being allowed to return.
  5. 0
    Quote from ktwlpn
    It's really not that simple. Every one deals with end of life issues differently. Some family members gather quietly around the bed in a darkened room and speak in whispers,others throw open the curtains, blaze all the lights and sit and tell funny stories about the soon to be departed. In this case ETOH obviously is a major factor in the family's daily life. Why not have a drink to Aunt Sally? You have to draw the line when it encroaches on the comfort of others and honor the needs of the family and patient. Why wasn't she sent home with hospice of transferred out to the floor where she could have a private or semi private room? I would have advocated for that.
    The OP wrote that, “Her visitors actually brought alcohol to the room and were drinking, acting out loudly and causing a huge commotion during visiting hours while other families were also having visitors.” That is not “having a drink to Aunt Sally.”

    As for hospice, would the family being drunk and disorderly in hospice be O.K.? Not on my watch.
  6. 0
    Call security or your local law enforcement as this would be considered publuc intox
  7. 6
    I would imagine that drinking alcohol on hospital grounds is prohibited, and this is what I would very firmly, but politely tell them. I'd go into the room and tell the family members that it's against the rules to drink on hospital grounds, and you have to ask them to stop. In addition, I'd tell them that you've been receiving complaints about the noise level, and that you need them to keep their voices down. Tell them that you want them to be able to be there with their loved one, and for that to happen, they need to follow the rules.

    If they give you any grief, then call security. But I really think you should at least try and talk to them first. If you don't feel comfortable approaching them alone, ask your charge nurse to come with you.
  8. 3
    Quote from ~*Stargazer*~
    I would imagine that drinking alcohol on hospital grounds is prohibited, and this is what I would very firmly, but politely tell them. I'd go into the room and tell the family members that it's against the rules to drink on hospital grounds, and you have to ask them to stop. In addition, I'd tell them that you've been receiving complaints about the noise level, and that you need them to keep their voices down. Tell them that you want them to be able to be there with their loved one, and for that to happen, they need to follow the rules.

    If they give you any grief, then call security. But I really think you should at least try and talk to them first. If you don't feel comfortable approaching them alone, ask your charge nurse to come with you.
    I like this approach best. Unless they were so unruly drunk that force would be needed.


    For what it's worth, when my MIL was dying in the hospital of brain cancer over New Years -- we snuck in a bottle of Champagne to toast in the new year. It was something that my MIL had actually jokingly requested before her initial surgery, before her prognosis was fatal. MIL was mostly comatose by then but - her kids and the spouses of her kids - all had a drink in her honor. I'm pretty sure that the nurses could hear the cork popping but they ignored it and we all went home after midnight, sober.
    loriangel14, FredaRN, and Amnesty like this.
  9. 0
    Put aside the drinking issue. The problem is the disorderly conduct! If I had been a patient in close proximity to this I would have been irate! I understand that we need to be all politically correct about alcoholism being a disease and all, but common decency is being completely ignored. Toss the rude people out - regardless if alcohol is involved or not.
  10. 0
    The first thing I would do is to inform the proper staff( Nurse, supervisor,manager,etc. and find out the protocol for handling a situation such as this. In my years of experience, I have found it very helpful to stay professional and if possible keep a cool head. Also because other people are obviously aware of this ,while waiting for help I would inform the other visitors that the problem will be taken care of as quickly and discreetly as possible. Don't forget to ensure patient confidentiality and privacy,respect,etc.


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