Ethical question...give their alcohol back or not? - page 2

Your patient is in your hospital department because they are either drunk (ER) or admitted for DT's (floor). You or a co-worker find a bottle of alcohol in your patients belongings. Do you: A) ... Read More

  1. by   barbyann
    I would call the supervisor and ask her to call it so then the documentation would reflect that I was unsure and went through the proper channels.
  2. by   Andy Droid
    Awfull lot of folks seem to think it's fine to (basicaly) steal a PT's personal property......

    Hope I'm not the only one that finds that a tad bit troubling.
  3. by   Pepper The Cat
    Would you throw out a pack of cigarettes? A bottle of Valium?Alcohol is not illegal so you have no right to dispose of it.
  4. by   edmia
    Throw it away. They can buy more alcohol when they get out. Alcohol is not allowed in the hospital.

    Unless they have an expensive, unopened bottle of wine or something like that. Then have family take it home, but cheap half pints falling out of their pant pocket as EMS wheels them in? Straight to the garbage.

    Sent from my iPhone using allnurses.com
  5. by   Vinniesguy
    Gets locked in the med cupboard and returned on discharge. We have no right to keep a patients property.
  6. by   pfongk
    Locked in the Med room, documented appropriately and returned on discharge.
  7. by   wish_me_luck
    100% letter A. Alcohol, if the person is over 21 yrs old and whether the person has alcohol issues or not, is patient property. Alcohol is not allowed in the hospital as long as it is someone walking in with it. When it is a pt coming into the ER via ambulance, etc. that is different because it's not like they willingly brought it in. If you discard it or whatever, you removed/took pt belongings.

    Just mark it (with pt sticker or whatever), store it, and return it. For the poster that said something like dump it because what if they go out and get into a wreck and the hospital is involved in manslaughter...that is far fetched. You gave them their property back, what they did after they got it; they are responsible for the consequences.
  8. by   VICEDRN
    All personal belongings in our facility are stored with security. We don't pre- sort them. Security is responsible for disposing inappropriate items such as drug paraphernalia. You should check facility policy. This is not an "ethical" debate, if you think it is then you need to revisit the definition of codependent behavior and share it with your fellow nurses on duty. :-)
  9. by   mariebailey
    I would think a policy exists to get you out of this ethical dilemma, & I would find out. Legal or not, I would think alcohol would not be permitted in the facility. Therefore, it seems appropriate that personnel, such as security, should be notified. It also seems appropriate for personal property to be confiscated if it is not permitted, but whose role is it to carry this out? I'm really not sure either of the 2 suggested actions listed would be beneficial to the patient or the nurse. Just takin' a stab at it here, but I think I would:
    1) Seek clarification on hospital policy from my supervisor or someone else who usually knows what they're talking about
    2) As a nurse, use interventions like providing education & referrals to rehab & support groups like AA, etc. that would be more likely to impact what the patient does when he/she leaves the hospital, rather than pouring their ETOH down the drain.
  10. by   That Guy
    I draw a line in sharpie at the level of the booze and then goes back with the pt belongings. That way we can show exactly where it was when they entered.
  11. by   Kyrshamarks
    You May be surprised if you check your hospitals policy book. I would bet that there is NO POLICY regarding patients having alcohol in their room or possession. I have seen many tomes families visiting patients and the bring in a bottle of wine to drink.
  12. by   eatmysoxRN
    I wouldn't throw it away, but I would store it with security. Don't need staff drinking on the clock :-P just kidding.
  13. by   Wet Noodle
    Quote from edmia
    Throw it away. They can buy more alcohol when they get out. Alcohol is not allowed in the hospital.
    Really? In the lab we handled 100% ethanol. That's 5x the concentration of vodka. Were we breaking the law?

    A patient is not allowed to have his $100-a-pill bottle of chemotherapy medication in the hospital either. Do you dump it down the toilet? Don't the same rules apply? Even if the patient comes through the emergency room?

    Quote from edmia
    Unless they have an expensive, unopened bottle of wine or something like that. Then have family take it home, but cheap half pints falling out of their pant pocket as EMS wheels them in?
    Are you the one to decide which vintages make the cut?

    Quote from edmia
    Straight to the garbage.
    Are you on some kind of WCTU power trip? One of these days you will be called on the carpet for theft/vandalism of patient property-and rightly so. You are not the hospital's moral lawman.

    If you're posting from Saudi Arabia, I take it all back-different culture, different legal system.

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