Suicide - page 2

by tewdles

2,564 Views | 12 Comments

I am wondering how many of my hospice colleagues have experienced the suicide of a patient. How supportive was your employer following the event? I recently experienced this loss and was taken aback at how significantly it... Read More


  1. 3
    I did. I witnessed it. I tried to stop it, but could not. The Patient was just admitted for Ca Mets...all over. This person was doing quite well, but had pain and all over..

    This Patient was in possession of narcotics. I excused myself to use the rest room, when I came back, the patient had taken the entire bottle of meds, the spouse was right next to him/her. Patient and Spouse Stated that they did not want the family to remember them "that way, the last days and did not want to endure more pain and suffering. They went to Hospice for this reason alone." I took the bottle to check and for sure it was completely empty, not even a drop left.

    I immediately called my supervisor who came over, but by the time they got there (45min, due to traffic and distance), my patient died. Right there in front of me.

    I was in shock to say the least. I was so way confused. I could not drive after wards for several hours, but had to get away.

    The Spouse called the family, I did PMC, the Supervisor Charted, She called the Police Dept. They came over, did an investigation. I spoke with them about the events that took place in the short 3 hours I was there. The Police spoke with the spouse who infact declared that the spouse willingly and personally took the meds, verified my actions/report. The spouse refused any autopsy and transport to morgue, only to funeral home after family arrived to the home. Showed the Police and my Supervisor a letter the Patient had written.

    I was given 4 days off and spoke with an outside SW and Chaplain and My DON and Admin. When I returned to work, there was a mandatory meeting. "My" issue was presented and I was asked to speak about it. I was not given patients to see for the balance of that day and not placed on call for several weeks.

    I spent many hours reading my Bible, going to the beach, taking walks and crying. I think I have recovered from this experience, it has been a little over 1 yr.

    Later that evening my Supervisor drove my Husband back to get my car.

    The spouse called my agency and wanted me to attend the funeral and speak on the agencies behalf, my agency told them that a family member of mine had just passed away on the same day and I was off on bereavement, they sent in a letter of commendation for my file, that I never read.

    and I'm a CNA.
  2. 1
    annacnatorn,

    What a horribly traumatic experience for you! I am so sorry that this has happened to you. You wrote it as if the incident was recent...

    It is unfortunate that this patient/family chose to do this while you were present and then to tell you about it...they could have simply said nothing and saved you countless grief. But they didn't...and you are left to figure out what to do with the feelings.

    Are you familiar with cumulative grief? An incident like this multiplies your grief experience and over time, working in hospice, grief can "pile up". It is EXTREMELY important for hospice workers in all disciplines to have boundaries and to protect self (physical/emotional/spiritual).

    In my personal event my patient killed himself using a weapon of violence, it was COMPLETELY unexpected! I had spoken with him less than 24 hours before he completed his suicide...during that conversation we decided that backgammon would be our game for the next visit.

    A couple of days later, the day I would have been playing BG, my son learned that his good friend/band mate had killed himself in Cali. My DH and DAU are trying to cope with two profoundly sad, confused, angry, etc loved ones.
    leslie :-D likes this.
  3. 3
    twedles,

    Thankyou for your note. The incident happened in May 09. I am familiar with cumulative grief. As Hospice workers, this as you know affects us all, regardless of level, it hits us. Yes, grief can pile up on us and I was and am no exception.

    I have a huge faith and family support unit that I lean on. My Pastor knows what I do for a living, I call it my Ministry, and He is forever keeping me up in prayer. I even have His direct home number! I believe that with a strong support system, Family and Faith, it got me through this one and the countless other people who have passed from this world infront of me. I don't mean countless in any disrespect, but there are many.

    I know Hospice is my calling. I love it. I believe that this person choose to do what was done with me there so as not to cause any problems for the spouse. I believe in faith leading, guiding..you are where you are because that is where God wants you. If He, God leads you to it, He, God will get you through it! (How I lean on those words, more days than others.)

    I've been in Hospice for 6~7 years and have seen many people pass away. I was the lead CNA and would be frequently called to assist the RN in many tasks. Her eyes and ears so to speak.

    I am sorry for your experience as well, I don't know how I would have handled that one. I guess this is where you say, thankfully you were not there at the time.

    I think that each teaches us a lesson, that we don't really know what is in the other persons head. And, we are to live life as fully as possible.

    In one month I had witnessed 20 people pass while on my time. I'm not going to lie to you, it threw me for a loop, I did experience grief, depression and with drawl, but and I say but, with a strong support system, I got through it.

    I've heard it many times that you have to be a special person to be a Hospice worker, yes they are correct. I believe we are all special.

    When I obtain my RN License, Lord willing after my recovery, I will return to Hospice.


    Live today, Love today, Laugh today, Life is to short not to!
    EquestrianRN, leslie :-D, and tewdles like this.


Top