visitors........again

  1. I know visitors have been a hot topic here, but I have a question about how your facilities handle security problems when it comes to visitors. Here's my problem.

    I work in a trauma center. Last week we had a 21 year old code while down for an MRI, and the family essentially went berserk. When they were allowed into the ICU to view the body they became out of control, literally running the halls of the ICU, screaming, kicking in doors. Security was called. They could not contain this family. More security was called. This family was so out of control they were threatening to staff, and patients, and destructive to the unit. I felt the police should have been called to take care of the matter.

    Problem for me, is that our visiting policies are so lax, administration doesn't care. My husband doesn't want me working in this facility after my telling him of this incident. And frankly, I wonder what would have happend had one of these fools had a gun.

    How does your facilility handle crazy people? Do you feel safe where you work?
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   911fltrn
    You are a proffessional doing your job! In no way does this lessen your rights. If you ever feel threatened again I hope you call security and the police. The places Ive worked the police dont have much sympathy for anyone who threatens, attacks or abuses nurses. :-) be careful out there.
  4. by   rkymtnnurseygrl
    I once had a relative of a patient follow me into another patient's room to continue a heated discussion about his behavior. He had been to our hospital several times before and had verbally abused at least one employee each time. Eventually security was called, and naturally it became my behavior verses his, and doesn't the "employee" always lose? Another topic for this discussion may also be the rise of infection within the hospitals......something that is being blamed on hospital personnel and poor handwashing, etc. I'm not disputing this is certainly an issue, but what about the sheer volumes of visitors that are allowed on the units? I work med/surg and rarely are visitors limited, coming and going all day for some patients, many of them with small children, on the floor, in the hallway, touching everything in site! What happened to the days when the hospital was a sterile (well closer to) environment, where the staff were respected?
  5. by   midwestRN
    Our ER "locks down". With one button, all doors lock. Then a Code 5 is called and all male personnel available go. We also have security (most are elderly, they like the "fatherly" look). The police are also called if needed. We have had a couple of mods during shootings. I was inside the lock-down, but I was still worried about the rest of the hospital. With the shootings, there were already several city police at the hospital. Our unit clerk is the first person you see when you walk through the ER door. She has always said she is afraid someone will walk through that door and start shooting.
  6. by   Dr. Kate
    NrsJo--at the trauma center where I work, a situation like the one you described would have had the police called after the first set of security people were unable to contain the situation. Our ICU is a locked, somewhat isolated unit. You simply cannot have people taking over the entire area with their anger and grief.
    Fortunately, we do not abuse calling hte police and they have been wonderfully responsive when we need them.
  7. by   ktwlpn
    I have seen similar situations in various settings-it does seem as though "customer satisfaction" often comes before employee safety....Until a tragedy occurs-then the bars and locks go up FAST! We have a problem now at the LTC facilty-the son of a former resident is stalking a staff member.He waited out front for her one afternoon last week-she sat down with him and told him to stop his behavior...He was on our unit this past weekend-did not ask anyone for her but it is obvious.There are many other instances -I don't have time to cite them all....He is spending more time on our unit now then he did when his mother was there(she is still in our facility but on another floor) I think our administrator (a man) needs to meet with this guy and our unit needs to be off limits to him-our DON (a women) seems to be sitting back and blaming the employee for not being more blunt with this guy....I think we should call the cops-Once his wife finds out what is going on maybe he will cease and desist....I believe that if a situation is spinning ut of control and internal security is in over there heads then the police should be called ASAP
  8. by   kittyw
    How dare your DON blame the employee!!! She really needs to put the complaint in writing and DOCUMENT!!! If something happens despite her complaints, you better believe I'd smell blood in the water.
  9. by   RN from OZ
    In Australia, a Nurse is 25 times more likely to be verbally abused or assulted in the work place than police officers !!! and those stats are without the 80percent under reporting of agressive incidents !
    the Dept of health has just launched a " no tolerance " policy in an effort to help retain staff.
    The employer is to support any staff member who brings charges againts a patient or relatives and nurses are encouraged to call the police and have the person renoved and charged.

    In nursing we have for too long fostered a theory that the relatives are stressed or feeling disempowered regarding the treatment of their relative but is this an excuse to lash out at nursing staff ?.....we are in stressful situations every day.....do we lash out ??? NO
  10. by   shay
    This thread is THE precise reason that:
    1. I refuse to work ER or ICU, even though I'm very much interested in that area and there is a high need.

    -and-

    2. I refuse to ever again work on a labor and delivery unit that isn't locked, controlled, and housed within a hospital that has a fully trained and supportive security staff that will respond if we say "boo."
  11. by   traumaRUs
    We had budget cuts recently (who hasn't) and we have very few security guards now. We just had this discussion this am in meeting and we all agree we are concerned. We had guns in the ER last month with irate family members. It is a wild inner-city trauma center.

    In Vegas - we had police substation inside ER - what a deterrent - guys with guns.

    Now, I'm thinking we need nurses with guns???
  12. by   Brownms46
    I once worked on a psych unit, and a former pt. threatened to come up and use a shotgun on the RN I was working with. Yes secruity was alerted, and the doors were locked. But what about when you walk out of the hospital??

    And again about visitors! Walked on the unit to see two kids sitting on either side of the hallway.... rolling a ball back and forth! I hadn't started work yet....but I politely walked into the room where these kids should have been, and asked them if these were they're children! Folks got pissed because I pointed out this wasn't the safest thing for them to be doing.! Then a nurse told me that she almost fell over one of them...as she scurried out of a pts. room, and didn't see them!

    I can remember when children below the age of 13 weren't even allowed pass the lobby! In fact a hospital in TX...has security at the elevator doors in the lobby. And you don't get on the elevators unless you tell them where you're going, and they check to see if visitors are allowed. You're given a pass with a time limit on it, and you only have 20mins to stay with that person...unless otherwised authorized! Security will come and get you! It maybe extreme...but it's better then what I have been seeing lately!
    Last edit by Brownms46 on Sep 10, '02
  13. by   shay
    Originally posted by Brownms46
    In fact a hospital in TX...has security at the elevator doors in the lobby. And you don't get on the elevators unless you tell them where you're going, and they check to see if visitors are allowed. You're given a pass with a time limit on it, and you only have 20mins to stay with that person...unless otherwised authorized! Secruity will come and get you! It maybe extreme...but it's better then what I have been seeing lately!
    Actually, Brownie, that doesn't sound extreme at all. If I lived in TX, I'd be applying to work at that hospital.
  14. by   Brownms46
    I don't blame ya.. But I think this is because it's in the valley, only a few miles from the border, and because of the gang activity! But it definitely makes you feel safe!

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