Families from Hell - page 7

I know that when people are in the hospital everyone is stressed out including the families; but man I can't stand when the families do all the talking for the patient, jump down my throat like a... Read More

  1. by   Diahni
    Quote from Emmanuel Goldstein
    Understood, and I know what you're talking about, but that wasn't what I was referring to...

    What gets me are those times I ask the patient a question and every time they open their mouth to answer, a family member pipes up from the corner. It's like watching a really bad ventriloquist act.
    EG: Hey, I can relate to this! Mothers do this for their kids when a stranger is talking to them. Problem is when you forget they've grown up and can speak for themselves. I think the family member wants to help, but there sure are a lot of NCLEX questions about the best source of info being from the horse's mouth. Don't forget that when a family member is sick, it's a crisis for all of them, as annoying as they can be.
    Diahni
  2. by   pie123
    I've had patients circling the drain. So I tell my other patients that I have an emergency situation that I'm dealing with, and I will see them as soon as I can. In the meantime, if they need anything, put the light on, and someone will be there to help them. Families are present at the time, so they hear this. Two seconds later, I'm in the hall, practically running to get something, so I can get back to help with my emergent patient. Family member stops me in the hall and wants to chat about what's for lunch and what the patient likes/doesn't like. Ok, didn't I just say that I was in an emergency situation. Alright, I see what you want...EVERYONE...stop the Code. You, stop compressions and fire up the grill, I'll get the vegetables on. This lady in Bed 4 must have barbecued chicken for lunch, STAT! We've got to get moving, we don't have much time, it's 1100 now! Geeezzz.
    Recently when my husband and I were in the airport, we were stopping to ask an employee something. After a few seconds, she looks up from her computer and says, "Do you have a quick question that you need to ask me?" Get it? Quick being the operative word. I told my husband that I was going to start saying this at work. Nice, huh? What's it'got to do with this? I don't know. I just liked it. Family on!
  3. by   rnmi2004
    When I see a stable patient in my med/surg floor with their room full to overflowing with visitors for hours on end, I always wonder if they visit this much when the patient is at home in their usual state of health. Especially my older patients.
  4. by   junebug50
    Oh my gosh! When I read down thru these comments, it brought back nightmares. I have been cussed out because friends didn't have the patient code for information. Yelled at by familes, called on the carpet by the manager because families weren't pampered the way they thought they should be. Told that I would be reported because pain medicine was late, I replied make sure you spell my name right and showed them my badge (they wanted to go smoke with their friends and didn't want to miss a dose of morphine). I worked my way up from CNA to LPN now to RN. I had been out of the main stream working group homes while in the last semster, and forgot what fun I had been missing. I know one thing to keep your sanity or whats left of it, you have to have a thick skin and a warped sense of humor
  5. by   woody62
    Quote from junebug50
    Oh my gosh! When I read down thru these comments, it brought back nightmares. I have been cussed out because friends didn't have the patient code for information. Yelled at by familes, called on the carpet by the manager because families weren't pampered the way they thought they should be. Told that I would be reported because pain medicine was late, I replied make sure you spell my name right and showed them my badge (they wanted to go smoke with their friends and didn't want to miss a dose of morphine). I worked my way up from CNA to LPN now to RN. I had been out of the main stream working group homes while in the last semster, and forgot what fun I had been missing. I know one thing to keep your sanity or whats left of it, you have to have a thick skin and a warped sense of humor
    I find it amazing that so many nurses have such poor relationships with their patients and their families. I have yet to see anyone start a thread or post that a family has not been demanding or a patient has not been demanding. That a patient has been willing to wait, wait and wait, for someone to come into their room or answer their call light.

    I have been a patient more times then I like to remember, in several different states, often with a roommate. I don't call the nurse unless I truly need something. Nor have any of my roommates. I have waited and waited for pain medication, longer after it was due and not complained. I have waited for my blood glucose to be checked and to receive my insulin, all the while my meal is getting cold. And had a nurse come in, give me my insulin and leave. Never asking me if my breakfast or lunch or dinner need to be warmed up. And I have had the same nurse come in a scold me because I couldn't eat a cold meal but forgetting that she never asked me if my meal needed to be reheated.

    And I think back, on the three months I spent in the hospital after being hit by a big rig, back in 1989. I remember the nursing staff answering my call bell promptly. Giving me my pain medication. Washing the blood out of my hair. Helping me get out of bed, even with a long leg cast and an arm cast. Helping me every three days to get ready to go to the operating room. I often wonder what happen to those nurses. Then I remember, they were all about my age when I was hurt, more then likely they have retired. And a whole new generation has taken over nursing care. A generation that apparently views families as the enemy. And patients as only a step away from that classification.

    When I had a patient who was demanding, I often looked for the reason that the patient was demanding. Was some how his/her needs were not being addressed or met? And instead of viewing the family as the enemy, I tried to enlist them to help me meet the needs of their relative. I didn't dismiss their concerns or worries. If they had them, I was taught it was my responsibility to figure out the problem and solve it. I was taught not to bring my problems to work.

    But this is just my point of view.

    Woody
  6. by   Liberty Bellpn
    Your post gives me pause Woody, and shames me actually. I've been complaining alot recently--maybe these few days off will help.
  7. by   woody62
    Quote from Liberty Bellpn
    Your post gives me pause Woody, and shames me actually. I've been complaining alot recently--maybe these few days off will help.
    I hope that they will. I understand that there are some patients and some families that can really get on staff nerves. But I thought that all the eduation we received was aimed at long past our irritation and trying to figure out how to help the patient, how to help the families. Perhaps I am old fashion but I was taught that I had to not only meet the patient's needs but their families as well. One would be surprised, if you look beyond your own irritation and see what is really brothering the patient, really brothering the family, you can see the problem. And most of the time it can be fixed. And by fixing it, you get the family on your side.

    Enjoy your days off.

    Woody
  8. by   marie-francoise
    Quote from woody62
    And I think back, on the three months I spent in the hospital after being hit by a big rig, back in 1989. I remember the nursing staff answering my call bell promptly. Giving me my pain medication. Washing the blood out of my hair. Helping me get out of bed, even with a long leg cast and an arm cast. Helping me every three days to get ready to go to the operating room. I often wonder what happen to those nurses. Then I remember, they were all about my age when I was hurt, more then likely they have retired. And a whole new generation has taken over nursing care. A generation that apparently views families as the enemy. And patients as only a step away from that classification.
    But maybe it isn't nurses, or patients, who have changed so much as the health care culture. Nurses seem to have worse working conditions now than they did in the 1980s, and this impacts both nurses and patients/families for the worse.

    Managed care and $-driven care has helped contribute to a vicious-cycle nursing shortage since then, and hospitals are being advertised as de facto Ritz Carlton's, while the pressures being placed on nurses make that kind of standard all the more difficult to live up to.

    It's hard for nurses to really be nurses anymore, it seems.

    Maybe the increasing patient-to-nurse ratios and patient acuity levels, increasing documentation requirements, and hospitals placing all kinds of pressures on nurses just makes for an impossible situation for all humans involved - nurses, patients, and families alike.
  9. by   HaileyRN
    Quote from marie-francoise
    But maybe it isn't nurses, or patients, who have changed so much as the health care culture. Nurses seem to have worse working conditions now than they did in the 1980s, and this impacts both nurses and patients/families for the worse.

    Managed care and $-driven care has helped contribute to a vicious-cycle nursing shortage since then, and hospitals are being advertised as de facto Ritz Carlton's, while the pressures being placed on nurses make that kind of standard all the more difficult to live up to.

    It's hard for nurses to really be nurses anymore, it seems.

    Maybe the increasing patient-to-nurse ratios and patient acuity levels, increasing documentation requirements, and hospitals placing all kinds of pressures on nurses just makes for an impossible situation for all humans involved - nurses, patients, and families alike.
    I totally agree. I think that most (if not all) of us have an innate desire to help others. We truly want to help. That's why we went into nursing in the first place.

    In nursing school, I took care of two patients at a time. Granted, we were just learning skills and medication names then... but I had time to sit down and talk to the patient... to understand their frustrations and see where they were coming from. When I graduated nursing school and started working in the ER, I tried my best to continue to check in constantly with my patients.

    That didn't last long.

    Unfortunately, when you've got 4-7 patients (depending on how the charge nurse feels that day or if it's a freakin MONDAY), you have a multitude of orders to carry out and tests to take the patient to. I have to find those tiny veins in nursing home patients and drug addicts. If I sat down and talked to family members the way I'd done in nursing school, nothing would be accomplished.

    And even through increasing nursing-to-patient ratios, the hospital administration wants us to improve our patient care satisfaction ratings... Slavery with a smile. Wonderful, eh?
  10. by   jbp0529
    Speaking of familes from hell... delt with one tonight.

    Pt's wife is a physician on staff at my hospital (she works OBGYN and has little clue about ICU stuff and is not involved in her husband's care in our unit). Spoke with her on the phone several times tonight giving her general status updates. Boy was she a trip! Rude and demanding as could be. "What is his BP?!! Has he gotten his meds? Why didn't XYZ happen today!! Make sure ABC gets done!!" yada yada yada. Of course I remained as polite as I could be, but when she tried to ask for more specific details, I told her that her husband (the pt) would have to speak to her, or tell her the primary docs would have to give her more info. That pretty much shut her up, but still...just no appreciation for the care we are providing or understanding of our rules.
  11. by   woody62
    Quote from jbp0529
    Speaking of familes from hell... delt with one tonight.

    Pt's wife is a physician on staff at my hospital (she works OBGYN and has little clue about ICU stuff and is not involved in her husband's care in our unit). Spoke with her on the phone several times tonight giving her general status updates. Boy was she a trip! Rude and demanding as could be. "What is his BP?!! Has he gotten his meds? Why didn't XYZ happen today!! Make sure ABC gets done!!" yada yada yada. Of course I remained as polite as I could be, but when she tried to ask for more specific details, I told her that her husband (the pt) would have to speak to her, or tell her the primary docs would have to give her more info. That pretty much shut her up, but still...just no appreciation for the care we are providing or understanding of our rules.
    I'm afraid I don't understand your 'rules'. His wife is his next of kin. I am assuming that when he was admitted, he was able to indicate this and authorize her to receive information, so I don't understand your providing her with the answers to her questions, rather then directing her back to her husband and/or his physicians. When I spent twenty-one days in ICU, back in July of 2006, I never talked to my daughter on the phone. And she had no problem getting updates from the staff taking care of me.

    And I'm sorry but I am happy you were not my nurse. Your own attitude just very clearly demonstrates the lack of understanding in today's nurses, for the most part. It makes no difference that she was a physician herself, she was a member of his immediate family. And she was apparently suffering, as demonstrated by her attempts to take control of your actions. Instead of the yada, yada yada, perhaps a little understanding, on your part, would have gone a long way.

    Woody
  12. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from woody62
    i find it amazing that so many nurses have such poor relationships with their patients and their families. i have yet to see anyone start a thread or post that a family has not been demanding or a patient has not been demanding. that a patient has been willing to wait, wait and wait, for someone to come into their room or answer their call light.

    i have been a patient more times then i like to remember, in several different states, often with a roommate. i don't call the nurse unless i truly need something. nor have any of my roommates. i have waited and waited for pain medication, longer after it was due and not complained. i have waited for my blood glucose to be checked and to receive my insulin, all the while my meal is getting cold. and had a nurse come in, give me my insulin and leave. never asking me if my breakfast or lunch or dinner need to be warmed up. and i have had the same nurse come in a scold me because i couldn't eat a cold meal but forgetting that she never asked me if my meal needed to be reheated.

    and i think back, on the three months i spent in the hospital after being hit by a big rig, back in 1989. i remember the nursing staff answering my call bell promptly. giving me my pain medication. washing the blood out of my hair. helping me get out of bed, even with a long leg cast and an arm cast. helping me every three days to get ready to go to the operating room. i often wonder what happen to those nurses. then i remember, they were all about my age when i was hurt, more then likely they have retired. and a whole new generation has taken over nursing care. a generation that apparently views families as the enemy. and patients as only a step away from that classification.

    when i had a patient who was demanding, i often looked for the reason that the patient was demanding. was some how his/her needs were not being addressed or met? and instead of viewing the family as the enemy, i tried to enlist them to help me meet the needs of their relative. i didn't dismiss their concerns or worries. if they had them, i was taught it was my responsibility to figure out the problem and solve it. i was taught not to bring my problems to work.

    but this is just my point of view.

    woody

    [font="comic sans ms"]first, this is a vent thread. we come here to vent.

    second, i guess i'm wondering how long it's been since you were at the bedside. evidently, it's been awhile. nursing has changed since 1989. staffing has gotten tighter and tighter and nurses are asked to take over more and more duties that once belonged to the ancillary personnel we no longer seem to have. or have enough of. at the same time, patients and their families have become more self-centered and demanding, less polite and grateful. and it's all about customer service now, not about good, safe nursing care. i remember 1989, and it was the rare family member who sat at the bedside with a notebook, recording every name, every med and every vital sign and telling you up front that "if something happens, i'm gonna sue and your name is right here," tapping the notebook. unfortunately, that is no longer the case.

    we no longer have the time to figure out why a patient (or a family) is being demanding and even if we did have, the reason is often merely that their parents never taught them how to behave in public. people seem to take their cues from tv dramas. the way to demonstrate that you really care about granny must be to throw fits, demand special favors and curse and scream at the nursing staff because that's now they do it on tv. the way to demonstrate grief must be to shriek like a banshee while tearing at one's clothes and hair because they saw it on "er." or take a swing at the doctor -- also seen on "er." and if one's husband is having a heart attack, by all means threaten to sue the staff -- just like on "general hospital." nevermind that these are dramas and expected to be dramatic.

    i think we all went into nursing at least partially because we want to help people, but the nurses you knew in 1989 have been abused by patients and family members and sometimes we just need to vent. and that's what this is -- a vent thread. i find in unhelpful and unsupportive of your fellow nurses for you (or anyone) to come into a vent thread and tell us how awful we all are for having negative feelings about the families from hell. is that what you meant?
  13. by   HelenofOz
    Maybe one of the reasons we are so angry and frustrated with the demanding and impatient patients and families is that while we are bending over backwards to answer them and see to their needs we are unable to give the care we should, and would if we could, give to the less demanding, patient, polite patients, who are often sicker than the ones that we are spending time with.

    I have worked on wards where all the staff have been accommodating, gone the extra mile, and basically bent over backwards for a patient/family, only to have them write a letter full of complaints after discharge. Meanwhile the sick little old lady in the corner, who really does need as much help and attention as we can give her is unfailingly polite and appreciative, and then writes a beautiful letter thanking us all for looking after her. I always felt guilty about that as I knew she could have had more of my time, if only I wasn't pillow fluffing etc etc for the self important patient in the other room.

    As they say-the squeaky wheel gets the most grease.

    And why do we reward grown-ups who have temper tantrums, when we won't accept them in children?

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