What happens if the patient is someone you know

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    Hasn't happened to me yet in this healthcare setting but I work in a pretty large hospital in a suburb of Boston. About half my local friends and neighbors get their health care through this hospital. As far as I know there is no stated policy dealing with what happens if you come in to find out your neighbor or friend's aunt has been assigned to you as a patient.

    In previous job settings I have either (at a clinic) approached the patient I knew and explained to them that I was assigned to them but they had the right to request another caregiver if they were uncomfortable, the decision was in their hands and I would respect their choice or (previous hospital setting) removed myself from their care if feasable. Both times I had checked with Admin and nope- no formal policy.

    I am thinking of moving to Home Care which would be an even more intimate and therefore potentially uncomfotable situation. (I would like to be assigned to a local area if possible as there will be a great deal of travel even with local assignment).

    For those who work and live in smaller communities this must be almost inevitable. Questions: How have other caregivers handled working with friends/ acquaintences as patients? What policies are in place at other hospital/ clinics/ or agencies? Any expeiences to share or words of wisdom?
  2. 8 Comments so far...

  3. 0
    I work in a rural setting, so it seems like everyone who comes in either is close friends with or is related to an employee. We have no set policy either, except that we are not supposed to care for our relatives. In the ER that doesn't always happen; I have been involved in both my daughters' care and my father's as ER pts. My coworkers have also cared for relatives in the ER. We would not allow it if the pt was critical, but otherwise it doesn't seem to be a problem.

    I once discovered a piece of information about a physician when I was caring for him in a professional capacity. I could tell he was nervous about it, but as soon as I could I assured him that the information would remain private, and that if it ever got out, it wouldn't be from me. I have kept my word to him.
  4. 0
    I've taken care of people I know personally. Didn't have a problem.
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    working in labor and delivery and being a fairly young woman (25) and working in the same city i livein and went to high school/college in, i occasionally run into people i know. I haven't yet taken care of anyone i know. and what we do for people up here is so intimate, ya know?

    If i had someone i knew well, i'd ask them if htey were comfortable with me taking care of them.
  6. 0
    Personally, I don't take care of people I know and I don't take care of family members. Hard to do when you're a CNA and responsible for all pts.

    It's not that I'm uncomfortable, but they have to be uncomfortable when I go in there to ask for a stool sample, hemacult, help with baths, etc.

    I haven't come across any of my friends or people I know in general as pts. But my grandpa, for instance, was in the hospital with a severe stroke and was unresponsive and we were waiting for him to die. No way could I take care of him like that and no one expected me to. He did end up dying and I just could not bring myself to go in there. I didn't visit him once while he was there. That may sound callous to some, but I prefer my last image of a loved one to be positive. I want the last picture in my mind to be one of happiness.

    We are a pretty easy going group and if someone is uncomfortable taking care of a family member, friend, etc we will trade pts.
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    I don't take care of people I know well. If I know them casually, I'll ask if they are comfortable with me caring for them. If so, I'll make sure that I never say one single word about them to anyone not involved in their care.

    Haven't had a problem with this policy.
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    This past summer I was sent to a facility to work thru an agency. I walked on got assigned to the rehab floor (great just my luck my least favorite of nursing ) Anyhow it was like my 2n time to this facility. I got report. The previous shift went over each pt with me. I started completing my 4pm fingersticks I went into the room introduced myself as this womans nurse for the evening. Immediately she started" OH My Lord, Jesus.. " I must of had this look on my face like What did I do, she said what is your last name I told her she said oh never mind, I then replied that is my married name my maiden name is.... again with the lord... she said to me "you have no idea who I am do you?? I said no but then it was like a lightbulb went on . This woman looked very much like my mother, very much like one of my aunts. She was an aunt of mine that I hadnot seen since I was like 3yrs old. She had dissaccoiated herself from the family. So we chatted a bit I asked her Are you ok with me being your nurse. She smiled and said I think its wonderful. Now I know I will get top notch care.

    I think in cases where you know the person if there is no policy it should be entirely up to the pt comfort. Especially if it may be a conflict of interest. I dont know if I would flat out refuse to take care of someone because I know them. I would definately let my DON know that either I am related, I know this person, or we have/had a personal relationship. We as nurses are working to care for the pt/and their illness not their ego/friendship. Good luck.. oh and by the way since that faithful day of me entering my aunts room. She has reconnected with her siblings now 28yrs later. Great story huh.
    Maranda
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    I live & work in a small town so I know most of my pts. They are sick & needing care, I am a professional providing that care. Anything learned in this setting....stays there. I have cared for a decon at my church, friends of my parents, members of my husbands family. I do ask & the response so far has been....it does not bother me if it does not bother you.
  10. 0
    Quote from crb613
    I live & work in a small town so I know most of my pts. They are sick & needing care, I am a professional providing that care. Anything learned in this setting....stays there. I have cared for a decon at my church, friends of my parents, members of my husbands family. I do ask & the response so far has been....it does not bother me if it does not bother you.
    :yeahthat:

    I figure since they all ask me about stuff at church, and call for advice, they must trust my judgement! In fact, people come up to me and say "I was in the ER and I looked for you, but you must have been off".

    When dh was ill, every time he went back in I wrote most of the routine admit orders because I knew his routine; it was a lot easier than trying to explain it all. I knew how much MS he'd need, and how often, and when he usually got his meds, and his tube feed tolerance, etc.


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