I think accepting small gifts is fine as long as they are not expensive. I think it is insulting and hurtful to people to refuse a small token of their appreciation. We often get candy or chocolates or flowers sent to the unit and no one makes a big deal about the ethical implications. Frankly, I think anyone who would make a big deal about it is just looking for a problem.
Nov 26, '05
I worked for a nursing home as a CNA and the facility's policy was not to accept gifts from patients or families unless it was a gift given to the whole unit but money was one thing that we absolutely could not except.
The patient that I had been taking care of was in for rehab in getting ready to go home. She basically said she was happy with the care I gave her and she wanted to do something for me. So she pulls out a dollar and says that she doesn't have much but she wanted me to take the dollar and get something from the snack machine. I politely declined the gift and explained that she didn't have to give me anything. Well, she kept insisting and I kept declining and I could see that her feelings seem to be hurt so I explained the facility's policy and she slipped the dollar in my pocket and said that no one had to know about it.
I took the dollar because I didn't want to hurt her feelings and I didn't want to be in there arguing with her about it lol. She didn't have any dementia and knew exactly what she was doing but I still felt bad about taking the dollar because it was against policy and I felt in my heart that she shouldn't have to give a gift for me doing my job but I also felt bad for hurting her feelings in the first place for not taking the gift lol.
Nov 27, '05
The family of a patient in a nursing home gave me a check made out to me for $50 just after he died. He had been quite ill with cancer toward the end. Told me it was to thank me for being so wonderful to him as his nurse. The son who did this was a doctor as well! I told him thank you, but I was going to pass it on to the administrator to put into a fund for some staff educational equipment the facility wanted. The administrator wrote a letter to the son thanking him for the gift and told him how it was going to be used.
Gifts of food get put in the nurses lounge or at the desk for everyone to share.
Nov 27, '05
I had a family member of a resident that was dying of cancer give each of the nurses $50.00 and the aides $20.00. I had the card lying on my desk and I promptly took it to my business office manager and had her witness and sign something stating I had brought it to her and required all of the staff to return the money. Some of the aides weren't going to say anything. We made it very clear to the staff that accepting any gifts from staff was absolutely inappropriate and against policy. I do know however, this family members "favorite" nurse was given a bottle of perfume, she used it, and I'm not sure if she returned it.
We always urge our families if they want to give something to the caregivers, give a basket of fruit, cookies, etc. so everyone could share. I know that what burned me was that the dietary and houskeeping staff didn't even get recognition and they assisted in taking care of this family member too. Takes one bad experience to hurt someones feelings.
Nov 27, '05
Well...it's not just housekeeping and dietary who miss out on the treats...what about the ER staff who stabilized the patient? What about respiratory therapy and physical therapy and lab and x-ray?
I know very few people who are going to get bent out of shape because they didn't get part of a group type gift like fruit or cookies. Life goes on...
When I was a senior in high school, I worked in a nursing home. We had one resident who was had pretty severe dementia and liked to pee in the plants, the water fountain, the water pitcher on the nurse's med cart...LOL. A lot of the staff just didn't get it that he really didn't know what he was doing and were pretty mean to him. A friend of mine (also a high school senior) and I went out of our way to be especially nice to him...it annoyed the heck out of some of the older staff members and it made the resident grin from ear to ear. Anyway, when we graduated, his daughter sent each of us $125 checks from his account. The adminstrator told us to keep them and send a nice thank you card. He died the day after we graduated...
Nov 27, '05
Cotjockey yours was a touching story.
And now my generic reply
My mother works as a home health aid and has been given many gifts. She always declines several times before she accepts anything. My mother pointed out to the daughter of one patient, "wouldn't you like your daughter to have this piece of jewelry?" Nope. (There was a lot of jewelry)
Many of her patients have gone into nursing homes when their health has deteriorated to the point of needing more care than she can give alone. Most of the families that she has worked for have provided everything monetarily. Gas money, money for eating out with the patient, money to go to the grocery store to buy the best food. (My mom tends to go cheap and has been told to buy better quality) The families she works for often are very well off financially, doctors, lawyers, busness people and yes even one wife was a nurse LOL. So perhaps when families like this who are used to providing such things for their private nursing staff then continue to gift items and money when their loved ones go into a facility. It's just their way becaues they have always said thank you this way.
I remember my father-in-law was placed in a home care type facility. It was run by a husband and wife with some help. It came highly recommended. The people who ran it were so nice. When my father-in-law passed my husband had a picture copied and framed that the gentlman who ran the home liked and he gave it to him. It was an old picture of my husband's family homestead in the old west and the gentleman had liked it so much. He really appreciated the gift and it felt good to give him something that touched his heart.
Nov 27, '05
Many hospitals have a policy on gifts. Our policy allows an individual gift if it does not exceed $25.00 in value, and group gifts that don't exceed $50.00.
I don't personally like to accept gifts and try to avoid it *, certainly not individual gifts.
*One gift I did accept was a 20 lb bag of rice from a rice farmer, but he brought one for everyone.
Nov 27, '05
One of the CNA's where I work showed me a gift which a lady gave her last week, just for taking "care" of her. It was a small clock. She asked me what the policy was on accepting gifts and I said to look in the policy book but I know that nurses are not supposed to accept anything other than a group gift like candy or flowers for the unit. I personally would not have accepted it, but if the CNA wants to, that is her business.