Ethics - Pronouncment in LTC

  1. Id like to hear some opinions on a matter that I myself have just experianced. I have been an LPN in LTC for almost two years now and have pronounced residents passing, this is nothing new to me. Now the issue in question is when; as in I fully understand that a residents apical should be taken to pronounce the time they have passed, but I had the situation where I came on shift, went directly to the room as this is my top priority, to be informed by the residents family that the resident had passed some.. say 5 minutes befor my entering the room. As Im offering my condolences and offering the family my support or if there is anything at the time I can do for them, they request time alone with thier loved one. I give them that, I exit the room stating I will be back in a bit to check on them.

    Now, they left some 35 mins after, I then took the residents apical and pronounced time of death.

    I am wondering what peoples feelings on this matter are, I personaly felt I was respecting the families wishes to have time alone. I was disiplened and my ability to do my job correctly has come under question.

    Am i fully in the wrong here? I have asked RN's and other LPN's in LTC and acute settings and so far only the company I work for and the RN manager have told me what I did was incorrect.

    Please keep responses civil please, Im not looking for get talked down too, im just trying to wrap my head around this issue.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this.

  2. Visit Shazoom profile page

    About Shazoom

    Joined: Sep '11; Posts: 23; Likes: 55
    LPN; from CA


  3. by   mazy
    LPNs cannot pronounce in my state. Neither can RNs. We can call the dr. and say that the patient no longer has vital signs, and the dr. pronounces, then we write a T.O.

    In your situation, I would probably have explained to the family that I needed to get the objective data that the patient had died and proceeded to call the dr. It's very important to get an accurate and timely pronouncement.

    It's a complicated process to step into a situation like that but there are tactful ways to handle it.
  4. by   loriangel14
    If you are in Canada then PNs can pronounce.You need to pronounce first and then give family time with the body.
  5. by   Fiona59
    Yup, you should have just asked for a moment. Whipped out the stethescope, checked for lack of apical and left the family with their elder. Charted and called whoever you had to notify.