Do you just turn the homeless back out onto the streets? - page 3

I'm in a small, rural area so I don't have to deal with nearly as many homeless as those of you in large urban areas. My question is: What do you do with them at discharge? Do you just discharge... Read More

  1. by   HopeItWorksDNP
    I'm the OP and I want to thank all of you that replied to my post. And thank you for reassuring me that I'm not a naive idiot as my co-workers had made me feel last Sunday.

    I had two nurses, a lab tech, and our ER doc tell me what a dumb thing I was doing because that meant every time this pt had a problem, he would show back up at our ER. The thing is, he has always showed up at our ER. That's why we know him so well. The criticizing went on for 3 hours that day until I broke down in tears. I guess they felt bad for making me cry, because they finally backed off.

    Just a little more info on the pt: he isn't habitually on the streets. I don't know that he has ever had to spend a night on the street. He normally resides with a family member or manages to put himself up in a motel. This time he had been evicted from the motel because he had no money to pay. The family member he was with earlier in the month had stolen his disability check to buy drugs (he's had more than one extremity amputated). So he really had no choice if we turned him out. There was nowhere for him to go and we have NO, I mean NO, resources available in my town. He would have been sleeping on a rock.

    After his two nights in the motel were up, he went to see his PCP. Turns out, he wasn't just homeless. He was also very sick. And in my ER doc's hurry to "prove a point" he completely missed the fact that this pt was sick. He was admitted to our hospital for his illness and will be going to a NH when he's stabilized. His PCP told me he thinks he has less than a year left.

    And last night when I checked on "my" pt after my shift, he thanked me with tears in his eyes for helping him. He's thrilled to death to be going to the nursing home so he doesn't have to worry about where he'll get his next meal or where he'll lay his head. Can you imagine your life being so bad that being placed in a nursing home was a huge improvement? I just hope his last few months are easier for him than the last few days.

    So thank you again to all of you that offered me words of encouragement and support. Just knowing there are others out there that haven't lost their sense of compassion and empathy helps to restore my faith in this profession. Thank you so much!!!
  2. by   sharona97
    Give yorself a big hug!!!!!! You are the nurse of angels
  3. by   Levin
    I'm glad it worked out so well. Well done. Levin
  4. by   traumaRUs
    Your compassion will carry you far. There is never anything wrong with sincerely trying to help others. I am so sorry you were the subject of ridicule for your actions.
  5. by   teeituptom
    Quote from Arwen_U
    Can we please keep politics out of this too?
    out with politics, ok

    out with religion, ok

    leave Golf in
  6. by   teeituptom
    Yes I just turn them back out into the streets after a good meal.

    thats a problem that will take a lot more than me to solve
  7. by   CRNA2007
    No need to blast away it is your money and you should do with it as you see fit. If you want to pay for the guy a night to stay then I can't understand how anyone could complain. I can understand where the co-workers believe in the "stray cat" theory but that doesn't always happen.



    Quote from ERTraumaJunkie
    I'm in a small, rural area so I don't have to deal with nearly as many homeless as those of you in large urban areas. My question is: What do you do with them at discharge? Do you just discharge them back onto the streets?

    For example, I recently took care of a "local character" who had been evicted from the roach motel he had been staying in. He had no money for an additional night. Nowhere to go this particular night. He came to the ER hoping to be admitted so he would have somewhere to lay his head. MD refused to admit him in order to prove a point (even though BS and BP were both high enough to justify admission).

    I spent quite a while trying to secure housing for him. It was a Sunday so of course, no agency offices were open. There are no homeless shelters in my town. My coworkers were absolutely nasty to me when I finally, with no other option, paid for 2 nights in the local roach motel (no, I didn't give him a dime of cash). The cops drove him to the motel and checked him in to ensure the money was used properly. It was not a large amount of money and I felt better knowing he had somewhere to lay his head.

    I gave him the numbers of local agencies he could contact the next day. I adamantly told him I would never help him again if he didn't do something to help himself (i.e., using the resources I gave him to secure housing). But my coworkers are worried he will return to the ER time and time again hoping I'll take care of him. And thus causing them to have to deal with him as well. The point they missed is that it wasn't about him...it was about me not being able to tell him, "sorry, you have nowhere to sleep tonight, but get out of my ER." I'm not that type of person.

    So, blast away if you must for me being naive and stupid and trying to help someone that doesn't help himself....I heard it all in person on Sunday. But while you're blasting, could you tell me what you do at your hospital? Thanks.
  8. by   canoehead
    After replying to your post and advising against helping I found myself in a situation where I gave a repeat patient $20 to buy gas. He didn't take advantage afterwards, and they really needed the boost. So I guess it's all a judgement call.
  9. by   tyrailia
    Quote from ERTraumaJunkie
    And last night when I checked on "my" pt after my shift, he thanked me with tears in his eyes for helping him. He's thrilled to death to be going to the nursing home so he doesn't have to worry about where he'll get his next meal or where he'll lay his head. Can you imagine your life being so bad that being placed in a nursing home was a huge improvement? I just hope his last few months are easier for him than the last few days.

    So thank you again to all of you that offered me words of encouragement and support. Just knowing there are others out there that haven't lost their sense of compassion and empathy helps to restore my faith in this profession. Thank you so much!!!
    Bless him and BLESS YOU you sweet woman!

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