I am struggling with patient families lately. - page 3

by jennilynn

16,904 Views | 146 Comments

I am fed up with patient families treating the hospital like a family reunion site. I am tired of the family members that insist on staying the night, why? In some cases I get it. But when your boyfriend has the flu or your nana... Read More


  1. 1
    Quote from cienurse
    Whatever happened to the good old days of "visiting hours?"
    Because customer service(????) allows people to do whatever they want when ever they want. I put the question marks after CS because even hotels and restaurants and other"service industries" don't allow themselves to be run over like hospitals and healthcare do.

    I totally enjoy stepping on people's feet cause they wont get the hint to move out of the way so i can get to the pt's monitor.I hope they are happy that my big fat chest is in their face because they will not move!!! Seriously, I think the families make the whole thing a social event , and completely forget why the pt is even there.
    Hoozdo likes this.
  2. 0
    @rn2b73- When I worked in long term care (AKA nursing homes) I loved CNAs like you. I never had to ask for what I needed more than once and my patients were always clean and dry. Sorry you aren't appreciated at your hospital. I bet the better SNFs in your area would fight to have you. and your patients would love you too!
  3. 1
    Families being around the patient should not give any problem to us healthcare providers unless they are already interfering with the way we care for our patients!
    samadams8 likes this.
  4. 1
    There's been more than one time that I've absolutely adored a resident, but would've given my left arm to evict the family! I've got several of them in my assisted-living community, and I wonder sometimes how such awesome people could have raised such whiny, demanding, arrogant, thoughtless, nasty, snooty, selfish, petulant children. Of course, I do everything I can to keep interactions with these characters to a minimum, which is difficult (but not impossible) for someone in my position. But thankfully I have a boss who runs interference for me with the one family member that I really can't deal with.

    One time about a year ago, this woman---for some reason I'll probably never know---outright lied, claiming that I'd been "mean" to her father and was prejudiced against him because he didn't like my son, who works there as a CNA. She also demanded that I be fired and said she would report me to the BON. Well, she was right in that I didn't like the man---he is a bitter, nasty old bigot, and he's called my son (who is gay) a few names that would make a sailor blush---but never in a million years would I have said or done anything to him that was less than professional. I don't operate that way, and to be falsely accused of it was more than I could take.

    It didn't help any that I was in the middle of a horrid manic reaction to a medication I was taking at the time. When I heard about this, I flew into an instant rage---stomped down the hall, slammed doors, ran into the med room and proceeded to yell and scream at the top of my lungs. I was crazy angry, and for a few moments I didn't care who knew it. My med aides were flabbergasted---they'd never seen me even moderately annoyed before, and suddenly here I was, completely out of control. Other than that, all I remember about this episode was telling my boss to keep that woman away from me or there'd be hell to pay.

    Well, anyone else probably would've fired me, and with good cause; but luckily he knew where my anger was really coming from, and he's been the go-to person for this daughter ever since. She and I occasionally bump into each other in the hallway and exchange awkward pleasantries, but that's about it.......we have no respect or liking for one another, and if she needs to harangue anyone about her father's care, it's "Frank" who handles it.

    But out of 17 years in health care, this particular family member is the only one I've ever NOT been able to work with. Not a bad percentage at all. And of course, that was the only time I've ever pitched a fit in the med room.
    opossum likes this.
  5. 1
    I think there does need to be a limit. One family member at bedside overnight should suffice, except in rare instances. If they are truly interfering with the pt tx and plan of care, they need to be warned or go.

    If they aren't, set appropriate limits, be as supportive as possible, do your job well, and don't take anything personally.

    Most family members are not there to spy on you or to make your life difficult. Get used to working in a fishbowl. If you work in many critical care settings, you work in a fishbowl. If you work with peds, you will be watched. If not by families, then by other nurses, RTs, docs, you name it. It goes with the territory.

    Be careful and confident, and get over it. The pt and family issues are not about us and our comfort level. It's about them. I've let parents look at their child's flow sheets and ask questions. Part of moving through the stages to expert level is in building humble confidence. If they aren't interfering with care, it really shouldn't bother you. Unless they are blocking treatment or are outside of appropriate limits, it's your problem, not theirs. So unless you have left out some important information, well, sorry. Sounds like the problem is with you. Hopefully you'll take my two cents as constructive and in the positive manner in which it was given. Sorry about any errors. I am typing on iPad screen.
    Last edit by samadams8 on Dec 29, '12
    canoehead likes this.
  6. 1
    I deal with these idiots every day...even away from the bedside. I can tell you at a glance who are going to be my PITAs for the day, and it's those patients who come in with either Mommy or Sissy or a random friend in tow who have no business being there. Mommy will try to tell me that her precious dumpling needs more pain medicine or nerve medicine while Dumpling sits silently. Mommy will attempt to prove her case by telling me that she's had to supplement Dumpling's regime with her own nerve medicine. The dumpling in question is usually in better shape than I and has no real need of Mommy. This usually occurs after Doc refusing to up Dumpling's dose a few times.
    Sissy is usually the same scenario... she's doing all the talking while my patient sits there. Sissy knows it all.
    And friend is either angling to rat someone out and get them dismissed from the clinic (pain management practice) or my patient has brought friend along with the erroneous assumption that I won't say no to their face when they try to wheedle and beg an appointment. We aren't accepting new patients and the waiting list is closed.
    Oh, and never forget the ones that try to run right over your head when you don't give them the answer they want.... they'll get another answer and act all smug. At least until the other party discovers that they're splitting staff.
    Stopping now before I need a blood pressure pill.
    opossum likes this.
  7. 2
    maybe the OP works in an area where there is NO respect for the health care worker- families allowed to do what that want. It's not even about being scrutinized- it's about the fact that these people are loud, obnoxious, disrespectful to their fellow man(ie: the pt in the next bed)and could give two craps about other people. And management rewards them for this behavior.
    Ive had many a pt ask me if i could ask me to ask the inconsiderate jerks (oops, other family members-customers)to go home( ie its 11 pm, pts should be sleeping), but noooooooo. We have no set visiting hours. They can come visit at 3 am if they like.

    I will say though if families have legitimate questions, I will answer them. I don't mind when they actually are paying attention to my mere presence. That is fine with me.If they allow me to do my job, i do not mind their presence.There are some family member who are genuinly concerned for their sick one.
    I just have a prob with the loud obnoxious ones that I can't do anything about-
    Savvy20RN and VivaLasViejas like this.
  8. 0
    Quote from applewhitern
    My biggest pet peeve is when family will come and stand in front of the nurse's desk every 5 minutes, for water, blankets, etc., instead of just ringing their call-bell, and stare at you.
    "you can find that down the hall and to the right"
  9. 1
    There have been too many times that I get up from the desk and instead go chart on a computer on wheels hiding somewhere because if you sit at the nurse's station, some family member will assume that you are not doing anything and will continuously bug you for every little darn thing. Water, pillow, food, more water, blanket, another pillow, another blanket, over and over again!
    canoehead likes this.
  10. 3
    Gotta say, after working in this field after a while I value the families... and I have found that it all depends on how you interact with them (to an extent). If you're up front with them, explain what you're doing, and don't act like they are a burden they generally won't be. Instead of the patient being bored and staring at the wall through a shift the family generally keeps them busy. I generally don't mind the interaction and if you involve them so they not only know what you're doing but understand why you're doing it things tend to go pretty well (we're drawing two sets of blood cultures because...). I have, of course, dealt with difficult individuals and that will happen. Let it go. Seriously, you will drive yourself nuts if you don't.
    Last edit by DeBerham on Dec 29, '12
    Orange Tree, canoehead, and iluvivt like this.


Top