Found A Patient Deceased In His Home

  1. I am a home health care nurse and I recently went to visit a typically noncompliant diabetic / chf patient. I visited him about 3 days ago only to find his blood sugar over 500 as usual, called the doctor, got blessed out, and in turn, gave the patient a good talking to...(he called me a warrior priestess and he didnt appreciate me ruining his nice quiet day). So I went to follow up with him yesterday and knocked on his door. No answer. I rountinely let myself in his home - he keeps it unlocked b/c he doesnt like getting out of bed. So, i walked in calling his name and ended up finding him very much deceased on his toilet. It was very graphic and disturbing. I cannot get it out of my head. As much death as I have encountered and dealt with, this is just too much I think. I feel like I'm in a trance. I called 911, and they didnt even touch him and called in the cops who are investigating it as an unattended death bc he was alone - it looked like a massive MI, but we dont know yet. I was interrogated in the 100+degree GA heat by investigaters and the deputy coroner and cops.
    I couldnt sleep and when I did all I remember dreaming about was him in ghostly form explaining what happened to him. When i visited my patients this morning, the first lady i went to see took a long time to respond (not unusual) and i about flipped out - sweating, nausea, palpitations! I told myself to get it together and I was fine the rest of the day to see the remaining 10 patients I had, but I am seriously concerned that I am having some real trouble dealing with this! Anyone else have any words of wisdom or similar experience????
  2. Visit homenurselpn profile page

    About homenurselpn

    Joined: Jul '10; Posts: 1
    Home Health Care Field Nurse; from US
    Specialty: 7 year(s) of experience in Home Health, US Army DOD Civilian


  3. by   Jessy_RN
    I am so sorry. It would have been an awful finding for anyone. You, being a nurse is not an exception. I don't have much advice other than maybe seek some counseling to help file it away. Good luck
  4. by   caliotter3
    If you haven't been able to deal with it after about a week, I would definitely seek someone to talk to. I am surprised that your supervisor has not offered to let you vent with her/him.
  5. by   RNfaster
    I think your response is normal. It would be hard for anyone to find someone like that. I think it would be good, as others have suggested, for you to talk to someone about it. Talking/writing here is good, too, but it might be good to talk to a professional.
  6. by   SuesquatchRN
    If your employer offers an Employee Assistance Program seek it out. That's gruesome, and not something you should deal with without a debriefing.
  7. by   caliotter3
    My daughter was the one who discovered her deceased father. She had just turned 9. She very badly needed professional help at the time. I tried to get help for her and was callously turned away. To this day, almost 30 years later, I can detect negative effects with her. Do not take no for an answer if you feel you need to talk to someone. And the dreams are normal. My daughter had dreams about her father and so did I. It was disturbing at the time, but I was not surprised.
  8. by   GoNightingale
    I'm not sure how much this can help you, but here it goes.... I have worked in a hospital setting and have seen several codes and have called rapid responses several times. I've concluded that we as nurses do the very best we can to help our patients. We are human beings. Sometimes I question could I have done better? Well... maybe or maybe not. But I tried to do my best for that patient with knowledge and safety in mind..and yes love and care. But we are not God. We are human beings. To me, as long as I know I did the best I could, and safely, then I pray for that patient and then I am kind to myself and I let it go. We must work out of love and not fear. First by loving ourselves enough to be kind to ourselves during situations such as the one you experienced. You did the best you could as a nurse. Believe me, I've had the "interrogators" and the people that are ready to sound like they are "ever so prudent that nothing like that would ever happen to them". Those people I blow away. Nursing is hard enough, we don't need to make it worse by being unkind to ourselves.

    My hat goes off to you and please know that you are a human being and in the field you are in we will encounter what you just did and yes, believe it or not, others have encountered worse. Think of what the army nurses encounter. If they were to be hard on themselves, and if we are going to be hard on ourselves, who's going to go out there and do the job? It is an priveledge to do what we do.

    God bless
  9. by   mazy
    I am so sorry that happened to you. I just want to send you a hug.

    Someone mentioned the employee assistance program, I don't know if your employer offers it but I did use that service once when I was so traumatiized by something that I didn't think I could be a good nurse at that time. It was very helpful to me, and I did end up taking some time off to regroup. The money lost was worth the peace of mind.

    If your employers or co-workers are decent folk they are probably pretty affected by this too and I imagine that they would welcome the opportunity to talk to you, or refer you to a resource if maybe you want to talk to someone else.

    Please just keep letting us all know how you are doing, that is too much of a heavy load to carry on your own.

    We are all only human, so be kind to yourself.:redpinkhe
  10. by   nursel56
    The graphic and emotional nature of it will probably soften and fade in time, and the dreams could actually be part of the process of dealing with something that shocks you. If it doesn't get better-- I agree that you should seek extra assistance.

    You went the extra mile for this man. Not sure being a warrior priestess is such a bad thing.:redpinkhe Hugs. {{homehealthlpn}}