Families, are they getting more demanding? - page 3

The LTAC where I work has, lately, been getting patients that come with demanding family members attached. I.E. we have one patient that is unresponsive, and the wife insists that he gets morphine... Read More

  1. by   KellieNurse06
    Quote from Sue Damonas
    There was a patient on my unit scheduled for a cardiac cath. It was delayed because the cardiologist had an emergency with another patient. He was literally working like hell trying to save this patient's life. Do you know that the family walked up to the nurses station and complained loudly and insisted that he pay for dinner for all of them because he made their family member wait??!! Just when you think you've heard it all!!
    :selfbonk: :smackingf :deadhorse I realized a long time ago that this has become an "it's all about me" society.......after 9/11 people were so much more nicer & considerate...then they got over it & have gone back to their old ways but only 3x as worse......it's sad really.......
    These people need to be told to put a rubber band around their head & snap out of it!! I know that as excited as I am to begin my nursing career...I dread having to deal with peoples stupid ignorance......and I can foresee I may end up opening my mouth with some of these people.......this is the exact reason why I got out of waitressing.....because of people's bs everyday....it truly does grate on your last nerve.....
  2. by   nurse4theplanet
    Quote from Sue Damonas
    There was a patient on my unit scheduled for a cardiac cath. It was delayed because the cardiologist had an emergency with another patient. He was literally working like hell trying to save this patient's life. Do you know that the family walked up to the nurses station and complained loudly and insisted that he pay for dinner for all of them because he made their family member wait??!! Just when you think you've heard it all!!
    How ridiculous.

    If I was that doc, I would have sent them all a AHA pureed diet tray with my sincerest apologies! What nerve!
  3. by   Kanani_Ikike
    Quote from Traumamama59
    The LTAC where I work has, lately, been getting patients that come with demanding family members attached. I.E. we have one patient that is unresponsive, and the wife insists that he gets morphine every 15 minutes for pain. This is even when he is sleeping and resting comfortably. She even insists that a certain nurse not take care of her husband because he supposedly refused to give the morphine. (He didn't, but that's another story.) We have family members at the bedside constantly interfering with the patient's care. Getting in the staff's way, and constantly demanding this or that for their loved one, requesting certain staff members not take care of their loved one for various stupid reasons, etc. I guess I am rambling, but has anyone else noticed a trend in the rise of demanding families? It's no wonder there is a nursing shortage. Nurses are overworked and overstressed out by the end of their shift. Just wondering what experiences everyone else has had.




    Pam

    I have noticed that most patients that I seem to get are coming along attached with bossy/demanding family members. It seems to me that they feel that the nurse is the enemy. It really does.

    What they do not realize that it is the nurse that spends the most time taking care of their family member. And when they are literally chasing you down, keeping post at the nurses' station to give you the 23 degrees, that it really takes away from what the nurse is trying to do: take care of her patients. I don't believe that some family members care that you have 6 or 7 other patients to tend to. And I think that that is a very selfish way to look at things.

    In essence. What they are doing is running nurses away from the profession and making the nurse's work-environment very hostile. I once had to eat my lunch in the med room because I had this family member that would stay put at the nurses' station to ask me questions. She was interrupting me on my med pass and I just finally had to tell her to please take a seat and when I finish (if I ever could finish with the way she was hounding me) I would be with her. Sheesh!!!! You know it's a bad day when you have to "hide" from a family member.
  4. by   wooh
    Quote from KellieNurse06
    this is the exact reason why I got out of waitressing.....
    But did we get out of waitressing?
    Last edit by wooh on Jan 15, '07
  5. by   KellieNurse06
    Quote from wooh
    But did we get out of waitressing?
    ROTFLMAO...great point wooh! I read this and just remembered a favorite instructor I had had this saying actually..." the only difference between a nurse and a waitress is that you have to feed them".... I forgot all about it until I saw your post....that was great! I got a laugh on that one!!
  6. by   Tweety
    Quote from GardenDove
    Precisely my point, Tweety. I also wouldn't want to go back to the days of 'Doctors as God' model. Yet people were more respectful in those days.
    I wouldn't know. I'm not as old as you. :roll
  7. by   txspadequeenRN
    You people are singing my song!!! This is one of the reasons I am considering getting out of nursing . I still would like to get my RN license and maybe work where I will never have any contact with families again...if there is such a place.
  8. by   SCRN1
    Why is it that so many can't figure out how to press the call light, so they walk to the nurses station to ask for water, blankets, etc...especially during shift change while we're giving report? They'll just stand there until someone asks if they can help them. It's like they're trying to listen in on what's being said about the patients. Or, while you're charting, they'll come up and look over the counter at that opened chart you're working with. I wish we had a glassed in nurses station with just a window where the secretary sits.

    How about the family members who keep pressing the silence button on the IV machine because THEY don't want to hear it? Or they appear angry at the nurse because it beeped and woke them up. Hello? There's a reason why that machine is beeping and we need to hear it when it does!

    To those who get peeved because it woke them up when I come in several times during the night to check on the patient or give meds or whatever is needed, I feel like telling them if they want uninterrupted sleep, go home. Then there are many of those who spend the night but don't lift a finger to help the patient and will call constantly to demand various minor things that aren't a priority that they could do for the patient themselves...like turn off the lights. If they aren't there to help, go home.

    Not long ago, there was a daughter of a patient who told the tech, "you are here to serve my mother and me. When I call, I want you here PRONTO!" This woman wore everyone out so much, the patient was assigned a different nurse each night. The patient was a real sweetheart, but because of that daughter, we were glad when she was discharged.

    As to the bringing in fast food, I really wish that wasn't allowed. I've seen so many do this and eat in front of that poor NPO patient. Then, they'll leave their mess for us to clean up.

    It's really irritating when family members get upset at the nurse when the doctor has d/c'd a med for the patient that keeps them knocked out.

    I could go on & on, but I think this is plenty long enough.
  9. by   MrsCleverclogs
    I looked after a pt this week who was an attempted suicide who transfered to the floor demanding her home pain meds-I explained that her home meds were not yet on the pixis yet and as soon as they were there I would give them to her.She pressed the call light demanding continously for 30 mins
    I saw she had some meds on the pixis and that the doc had started her on a certain drug so I went into the room to give it to her-I told her what it was so picture this-she was lying down looking very cosy wrapped in lots of warm blankets, when she rose off the bed like something out of the exorcist movie screaming in a possessed voice "how many times have I told you I dont take that medication' In a controlled voice I said you have never told me it must have been a previous nurse, and not to speak to me in that manner'
    So she told the CNA she had never met such a Nasty Nurse in her life!


    Well not a lot you can say to that
  10. by   Roy Fokker
    Loong response:

    Quote from Tweety
    I notice that quite a bit of the family complaints centers around the doctors "when is the doctor coming in?", "when will we get our test restults?", "the doctor hasn't spoken to me yet, she just comes in and out and doesn't say a word?".
    Ditto that! That is actually my MOST frequent complaint! That and "how come I had to wait so long after I hit the nurse call light" ? :uhoh21: (uhh, maybe it's because I have 7 other patients besides you?)

    Quote from AliRae
    However, the next day the nurse told me she was snapping her fingers and beckoning.
    If someone "snapped fingers and beckoned" at me - I would not be answering her. In fact, I would pretend that she doesn't exist.

    I'm a human being. A professional to boot.
    Not a dog.

    Quote from asoldierswife05
    It can be very frustrating.
    I hear that! And the best way around it that I'm honest about it. I tell them that I don't know what specifics they are looking for, but I can get someone who might be able to help them. I guess I'm just lucky that I work a floor staffed with nurses who have decades of experience!

    Quote from asoldierswife05
    But sometimes I feel as if they are challenging my knowledge or just waiting for me to make a mistake. I love my patients and I would NEVER do anything to harm anyone or pretend that I know what I am doing if I really need help, but I don't know everything and patients/families need to realize this.
    And sometimes, patients/families need to realize that:
    1. Not everything on "WebMD" (or the web in general) is true
    2. There are reasons for the things we do (e.g.: "Why are you giving my Dad Coumadin and Heparin?! Won't two anti-coag meds make it dangerous?! Don't you know what you're doing?!"

    Uhhh, the Coumadin is for his A-fib and other heart conditions. The heparin is for his recent knee surgery. It's not just me - but the surgeon, his primary medical doc and the hospitalist who concur.
    But hey! What do I know?! I'm "just a nurse"

    Quote from SCRN1
    How about the family members who keep pressing the silence button on the IV machine because THEY don't want to hear it? Or they appear angry at the nurse because it beeped and woke them up. Hello? There's a reason why that machine is beeping and we need to hear it when it does!
    I had some who "plugged" up the alarm speaker port with tissue paper ... making the alarm sound 1/20th of it's original volume :uhoh21:

    Since then, I've become a little more paranoid - every shift when I check/clear pumps, I take a quick look at the back of the pump to make sure things are ok!

    Quote from SCRN1
    To those who get peeved because it woke them up when I come in several times during the night to check on the patient or give meds or whatever is needed, I feel like telling them if they want uninterrupted sleep, go home.
    I always joke about my night assessments/interventions. I usually start with introducing myself to the patient and asking them how they feel. They usually take a little while to respond - and at the moment I quip "You must be thinking: Well, I'm stuck in a hospital. How do think I feel ya idiot?!" Or "You're probably thinking: I was sleeping well and doing fine till you woke me up Einstein!"

    Diffuses the mood, relaxes 'em up --- everytime. I then apologize and agree with them that yes, we don't let them sleep much at night. But we do what we have to do, so that they get to go home faster - that argument always seems to work for me

    Quote from SCRN1
    Not long ago, there was a daughter of a patient who told the tech, "you are here to serve my mother and me. When I call, I want you here PRONTO!"
    If I had a dime for everytime I resisted the urge to ask "Would you like fries and ketchup with that..." *sigh*


    On a parting note: I precepted on pediatrics (in fact, I STILL want to work peds). Despite the horror stories I was told - all of my little patient's families were supportive. In fact, I couldn't have done half the things I did without the support of the parents.

    Families aren't all bad. Some of them are awesome - they help me out so much - it takes a HUGE load off my shoulders. Yes, some of them are awful whinny butts (and coupled with the fact that the patients sometimes are too, makes for a nightmare) ... but many of them are vigilant and helpful.

    Maybe it's just the area I work in :selfbonk:
  11. by   barbyann
    Lately I have felt overwhelmed by family interactions. I am considering starting to document these instances as "hostile work environments". Just in the past two weekends I have been called multiple vile names and thwarted taking a cane upside the head by my quick "dodgeball skills".

    Think the big Kahunas will respond to written reporting of "hostile" working conditions. Someone upstairs needs to set firm limits and protect their employees from the monsters they have created with their "culture" of customer satisfaction.
  12. by   General E. Speaking, RN
    I vote for a "No Family Day". Wouldn't that be nice to just worry about YOUR patient?

    How about the family members that leave their demented parent behind "to visit"? I often feel like I have 2 patients in the room.

    The ICU waiting room is located right beside our Med-Surg nurses station (poor architect planning) We have huge vaulted ceilings that magnify all the sounds. So, not only do we have to deal with our own family members but ICU's too. I am so very tired of dealing with those family members that insist on camping out- especially with small children. One group of folks even had an infant there for days. I don't think this baby was older than 1 mos. You can't blame the kids- they get cranky and tired and need to go home. I am so tired of fetching coffee cups, spoons and straws. I am tired of cleaning up blankets and pillows left all over the place. I am tired of zig-zagging through family memebers and their toddlers to get to my patient rooms. Meantime, ICU is tucked away behind closed quiet doors with strict visiting hours while we deal with all the drama. I don't blame ICU, but the ICU nurses don't understand why the Med-Surg staff is ready to scream when the ICU staff complains about having to deal with a difficult family member- they deal with them for what? 15 minutes every 2 hrs? Try all day long... No flaming, please. I love our ICU nurses!

    We are moving to a new floor. I am happy to say that our family waiting areas are at opposite ends of the nurses station (on purpose) AND ICU waiting is nowhere near us.

    And don't get me started on patient satisfaction. I am an excellent nurse. This means my patient's "needs" come before patient "wants". (Needs BP meds vs. wants jello)
    Last edit by General E. Speaking, RN on Jan 16, '07
  13. by   southernlady48
    it is shame we have to put up with this and if we say anything in return it means losing our job,nursing sure has changed over the past 36 years for the worse no wonder lot people decide not to go into nursing that is why we are having nursing shortage because all the crap we have to put up with from families.

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