When Family threatens you (vent) - page 3

Okay, I went into work tonight in good spirits. Had a nice group of patients, all except this one pt's family (patient not the problem). I recognized the patient immediately from previous admissions... Read More

  1. by   deespoohbear
    Irishcreme-Thank you for finding the reference of that law. When I get back home from my holiday vacation, I am going to send a copy of that law to my representatives and ask them if such a law exists in Indiana. If if doesn't, I will encourage them to introduce legislation to enact laws protecting healthcare and emergency workers. Law or no law, I will not hesitate to call the police to protect myself, my fellow co-workers, and my patients. I am not paid to take threats.

    PS-Kevin- I think your posts were absolutely brillant. Way to go!!
  2. by   canoehead
    No security oin my hospital- I would call the police and have the m stand beside me as I delivered Kevin's speech, have the offender escorted out, letting them know they were not welcome back that day. They could go home and cool off, and we'd start fresh the next day, but the second offense would get them banned...hopefully forever.
  3. by   NRSKarenRN
    Look closely at the law---states "Home healthcare worker" means a licensed nurse who provides health care in a home

    NOTHING about those nurses who work in the hospital. Glad to see I would be protected in NC doing home care!
  4. by   hoolahan
    Sounds like the hospital needs to wrote this pt a letter and tell them they will no longer treat this person in their hospital due to threats of violence. I guess when they arrive to ER in critical condition, you would have to treat, but why doens't the hospital move them to another place after they are stable? Get the docs who have fired them pt on your side. This is not tolerable.

    And they wonder why there is a nursing shortage?
  5. by   Genista
    Thanks everyone for the great advice!
    I will have to fill out an incident report about this. Aside from the physical threat, this one family member is a nightmare to deal with...angry, inappropriate every admission without fail (following me behind the nurses station and folding the arms and glaring at me when I'm on the phone). I would say this person is actually hostile. The rudeness & anger I can tolerate for short periods.

    The fact that this person monopolizes the nurses & docs, I guess I can put up with. But I have to admit, I was supremely annoyed that once again, this family member needed 1 full hour of undivided attention from the doc (it happens nearly every day) to vent their gigantic list of concerns, and that they expect me to be 1:1 nursing and doing all sorts of inappropriate interventions on a very frail elderly person. (Of course, I can't reveal details, but take my word for it). I realize that they are worried/stressed, etc, but if you saw this person's demanding & arrogant behavior, you would see how challenging it is. Despite all that, I tried to be courteous & polite at all times.

    I just was so surprised to be threatened like that from a person who was obviously sober & seemingly healthy. It was so ridiculous! I regret that I didn't set limits with the family member, but at the time I was simply trying to calm them down.

    Yes, the actual patient is a very frail elderly person, unable to vouch for themselves at this point, and social worker et al. are involved in the case.

    Thanks again for your support & comments!
    Lots of great advice. By the way, I didn't have that patient last night (Thanksgiving), and actually, didn't even see the "family member" come in, so I had a great night at work. Thanks to your feedback, next time, I will at least have a better idea how to handle the situation.

    Hope you all had a great Thansgiving!
  6. by   Nurse Ratched
    Originally posted by kona2
    (following me behind the nurses station and folding the arms and glaring at me when I'm on the phone).
    Kona, so glad you had a better night. The behavior noted above should not be tolerated, either. We typically keep people from lingering around the nurses' station. They are told (politely, of course) that there is a great deal of confidential information there (what with charts everywhere and a certain amount of conversation between staff and docs necessary.) People are invited to wait out in the waiting area (away from the station) when they are not visiting with their loved ones.

    A typical interaction between myself and a family member who is lingering at the station is, "May I help you?" "Yes, I'm waiting to see x doctor (or whatever.)" "When he comes in, where can I tell Dr. X he can find you?" "Oh, I'll just wait here." Well, sir, we can't have people waiting around the nurses' station due to the delicate nature of information we have to handle here." "Oh, I'm not listening to anything." "Nonetheless, sir, that is our policy. Where can I tell Dr. X you'll be? (sweet smile.)"

    Anyone who doesn't get the hint after hitting him with the broken record of "You can't hang out at the nurses' station," gets invited to go hang somewhere else or be escorted elsewhere. Most people are cool about it.

    When you KNOW certain people are going to be problem situations from the word go, it sure takes the emotion out of things from your end to have a canned response ready. That way, you don't get caught off guard. The boy scout motto comes to mind . Good luck!
  7. by   montroyal
    Originally posted by NRSKarenRN
    Look closely at the law---states "Home healthcare worker" means a licensed nurse who provides health care in a home

    NOTHING about those nurses who work in the hospital. Glad to see I would be protected

    Below is a portion of the law. As you can see,nurses are included. If your hospital has an emegency room, then you are an employee of a health care provider, you are covered.


    (1) "Emergency medical service provider" means an individual or employee of a health care provider who provides medical or health care services in the course of his employment or training which includes, but is not limited to, emergency physicians, nurses, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, members of rescue squads, and anyone directed by these individuals.

    in NC doing home care!
  8. by   traumaRUs
    In the state of Illinois - its also a felony to threaten or touch a healthcare worker. I'm an ER nurse in large inner-city hospital and don't hesitate to call security, then police and file report. I have to go to court December 11th as a matter of fact for an assault charge against a gun-toting gang member. Its totally ridiculous you would have to put up with this.
  9. by   Agnus
    Originally posted by sjoe
    Threatening bodily harm happens to be against the law in California if the person is capable of carrying out that threat.

    My sugggestions:
    1) call security and have this person(s) escorted out--don't take NO for an answer
    2) a formal, written complaint to your facility AND
    3) a formal, written complaint filed with your local police department
    4) (and a restraining order, if that seems TO YOU to be called for).

    Remember:
    Agreed. Please, note management does NOT have a right to undermine you in this.
  10. by   Agnus
    Originally posted by kona2
    Thanks everyone for the great advice!
    I will have to fill out an incident report about this. Aside from the physical threat, this one family member is a nightmare to deal with...angry, inappropriate every admission without fail (following me behind the nurses station and folding the arms and glaring at me when I'm on the phone
    By the way, I didn't have that patient last night (Thanksgiving), and actually, didn't even see the "family member" come in, so I had a great night at work. Thanks to your feedback, next time, I will at least have a better idea how to handle the situation.

    Hope you all had a great Thansgiving!
    This goes beyond hostle. It is Threatening and it is illegal for him to enter the nurses station.

    Hummmm! so concerned they couldn't even be bothered with this family member on thanks giving day.

    sorry but people, no idiots, like this slay me.
  11. by   mattsmom81
    Violence against health care workers is such an escalating problem today.

    I hope student nurses are role playing patient/family abuse and threats in school to prepare them for reality, IMO.

    It's too late once you're alone in a room with one of these psychos...or in a dark parking lot and they're waiting for you.....agree with those who said 'Be prepared'.

    One of my biggest frustrations has been the lack of support on the general units for nurses who are abused and threatened by demanding rude families. ER can call the police, but elsewhere families seem to be coddled and enabled in their bullying by managers who are afraid to take a stand. As a charge nurse and supervisor I have taken a stand for my staff and have been reprimanded. <sigh>

    Laws need to be enacted in every state and we have to stop allowing facilities to turn their heads away when nurses are abused. It simply cannot be tolerated.
  12. by   mario_ragucci
    Not in school yet...im first year. But the hospital had a video which went over psych-related responses to PT's
    One thing I could count on is my voice getting attention. If I called a code, outloud, like anyone, there would be a response.
    I ain't seen family members angry yet. It's understood we are trying to help. If a family member attacked me for not doing my job, I might take that personal. I guess it could happen. Just remain calm and try to help them. Really are calling out for help.

    I idded around, and I would never strike anyone at work, even if I was rightous to do so. The way I see it, every takes a beating sometime :-( Block the punches and step away. It's okay to bear hug someone from behind as long as it's safe. Two people is better. I'd hope I'd never be in a confrontatiopn like this, but it could happen, I guess.
  13. by   Agnus
    One thing I did for myself when I was doing my prereqs for school was to take a class in assertion. This was not on the nursing curiculum. It was just one of those I think I'll take this for fun classes. It was only 1 credit.

    The first day I was shocked as there were several students there by court order for anger management. I had never thought of assertion that way.

    I had thought assertion classes were for whimpy (yes I looked down on them) women who could not stand up for themselves. Well actually it is for both. Infact it is for everyone.
    The text we used was, The Assertive Option, by Patricia Jakubowski and Arthur J. Lange. published by Research Press, Champaign, IL
    The book is a gold mine. Bear in mind these are skills that require practice. But it makes a HUGE difference in my life especially on the job.
    Last edit by Agnus on Dec 2, '02

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