too hot in the home

  1. I am a new LPN working full time nights in a home where none of the windows open. There is no fresh air in the home. The patient is a pediatric client with CP. The bedroom is very hot and stuffy. Should I say something to my supervisor? I feel this is unhealthy for the client and is very uncomfortable for me during these hot summer days. The parents have provided a fan but it just blows around the hot air. Help!
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    About tjmschet

    Joined: Apr '11; Posts: 4


  3. by   caliotter3
    Yes, speak to your supervisor. I have had to leave two cases because I could not tolerate the working conditions in the home, heat, and in one case, the heat that built up in my air conditioned car, while I was in stop and go two inches highway traffic for two and a half hours going home. I don't know what would have happened to me had I passed out in the car in that heat. Nobody will look out for your patient or for you, if you don't.
  4. by   sissib
    Yes, speak to your supervisor. Most HH co's will assist families with getting room AC just for the patient. That must me hard on the patient also. If pt is ill enough to require private duty nurse, then needs AC during hot summer months. Just sayin
  5. by   tjmschet
    I spoke with my super and she said that because its their home not much more can be done. They provided a fan and I should wash the pt with cool washcloths. Not much help, but I did call. thanks for all your suggestions.
  6. by   mb1949
    I had to leave a job this summer because of this, a little different situation, worked nights, apartment was an oven,, mom would take baby into her room and put the air conditioner on, while I sweated in a hot living roon, on a plastic covered couch (didn;t know they still made plastic slipcovers), One night it was over 100 degrees in the living room, I had just given baby his 2am meds, and was trying to rest until 6am, ok wait, the baby;s trach tube come over the trach cannuala, ok reconnect right, 10 seconds, no Mom called be upstairs in the heat to stick it back on, that was my last night
  7. by   SDALPN
    It is their home. Not trying to be harsh, but its not your home and you are a guest. I'm currently working in a home that is really hot. They have a/c, but can't afford to make it cooler. They let a nurse go that opened the windows because it was letting the little bit of a/c they use right out the window. There is a fan in the room. What you consider hot, others may consider comfortable. The patient has probably been in that hot environment for a very long time and probably way before you got there. They are probably used to it. What did people ever do before a/c?
    I will take my patient outside sometimes just to cool off and give her a change of scenery. I also put my drinks in the freezer to make them like a slushy so it helps cool me off. I wear my thinner scrubs too. I've also begun keeping my house a little warmer and not relying on a/c in the car as heavily so the heat doesn't shock my body as much when I get to work. I know construction workers that leave their windows open year round and they get used to the extremes in temp so it doesn't bother them as much at work.
    You can't control them, but you can control your own actions. If you still can't tolerate it, they will find a nurse that can. Nobody lives the same way you do. If you were in an office with a locked thermostat, you couldn't do anything about that either. I just read an article a few days ago that said most of those thermostats in the offices are fake to make people think they are changing the temp.
    I've seen nurses get let go in the past for changing the families thermostat. Again, its their home. I NEVER touch a thermostat unless the family specifically asks me to and gives me a temp or range of temps that I can change it to. I will also remind families that some of the equipment puts off a lot of heat and makes the room warmer. Sometimes they'll offer to provide additional fans.
    Good luck.
  8. by   systoly
    If it's the family's choice, voice your concern for the pt. and move on if necessary.
    If the family is lacking resources ask them for permission to help. If granted, you can usually get a window ac by making some phone calls.
  9. by   tothepointeLVN
    Your not a "guest" you are an employee ( not of the family ) that is working on behalf of the family. I think lines get seriously blurred. You are still entitled to a comfortable work environment free of hazards.

    I don't think we should be encouraging each other to lower the standards for how private duty nurses are treated. Last time I checked I was a college education, licensed professional not a serif.
  10. by   caliotter3
    If the home is too hot for the nurse, it is too hot for the patient. Nobody needs those conditions. They are not safe. The agreements that are signed at the start of service state that a safe environment will be provided. No nurse needs to submit to an unsafe environment. That is why I left the place that was not safe for me. My employer understood what I was telling them.
  11. by   SDALPN
    Quote from caliotter3
    If the home is too hot for the nurse, it is too hot for the patient..
    I disagree 100%. Not everyone is comfortable in the same temps. Just because you like it one temp, doesn't mean someone else does. Put 100 people in a room and set the temp to 70-72. You will have some people say its just right and others that say they are too hot or cold. The patient who has been in what you consider an extreme temp is probably used to the temp.

    As for the person that said "its a workplace". This is where your patient and your patients family live. Its the best they can do. Unless they are doing something unhealthy or dangerous, let it go. How would you feel if someone came in to your home telling you what to do in your own home. Reverse this situation for a sec. What if this patient or family was in your home caring for you and complaining to their supervisor that is was too cold for them?

    I grew up in a home where my father kept the house as cold as the a/c would get it. He would sweat if it was 60 degrees. I have a friend that keeps her home the same way and we call her house the icebox. When I was a kid I had a heater in my room because it was too cold for me. But I lived in the home and had the right to put a heater in my room. But he didn't do it to save money so they could afford for me to have the heater in my room. My friend sweats when its over about 65. So she keeps her home that cold. The rest of us just bring sweaters/jackets or don't stay long. Its her home and its not fair to ask her to be uncomfortable in her own home for our comfort. Not everyone lives the same way. If you think they do, you are close minded. Have a little respect for your patients home.

    Some people are just not cut out for home care. I've seen plenty of nurses want the home to be like theirs and they quickly get removed from the case. The nurses can't adjust. In this job you have to be flexible. If you want the temps to be like they are in an office, go work in an office.
  12. by   tothepointeLVN
    It is the place where you work it is a WORKPLACE. It is also where they live the relationship between you and the household is a WORKBASED one. Certainly your family can call the agency to complain but the agency is the one liable is you file for hazardous workplace environment or a OSHA complaint

    There are actually laws in place dictating how hot and cold a workplace can be. I used to work in a bakery I know all about how workplaces. Our bakery used to have a thermometer. If it got above that we were legally allowed to got home. I've had college class cancelled because the air was out and it wasn't a safe environment for students.

    So you like your rooms cold? So what? What does that have to do with having a hazaardous WORKPLACE environment. It is NEVER appropriate

    I'm fired up today but it is nurses like you that tolerate unprofessional situations that the rest have to encounter. I had a patient's family that expected me to sit on the floor because that's what the previous nurse had allowed. We should not expect our WORK ENVIRONMENT to be at 3rd world standards.

    Quote from SDALPN
    Some people are just not cut out for home care. I've seen plenty of nurses want the home to be like theirs and they quickly get removed from the case. The nurses can't adjust. In this job you have to be flexible. If you want the temps to be like they are in an office, go work in an office.
    There's flexible and there's acting like a slave. Where's ventsmommys input when you need her. The situations I've encountered in long term private duty cases and what I've encountered in obviously short length hospice cases are completely different yet the "job" is about the same caring for the patient in the home. You ask us to have respect for the patients home but you also have have your rights as an employee respected
  13. by   caliotter3
    If you SDALPN think it was what I like versus what was medically necessary for me that caused me to leave an unsafe environment, you are making the wrong assumptions. And I am not talking about "comfort". I am talking about sweltering temperatures. You totally miss the point in trying to make your point as the only valid one. Don't speak for me. I only made a comment appropriate for me, and others. Was not speaking for you. But then, a safe environment is a safe environment. I know the difference, thank you.
  14. by   SDALPN

    There are no laws stating what the temp has to be in a work environment. And again, this is the patients home. Part of the benefit of working for an agency is the option to find a good fit. If its not a good fit because you don't like the temp, you can find another case.
    I'm on a case now that is extremely hot. The family can't afford to run their a/c like I would in my home. But I'm not in my home so I can't make that choice. The family has a choice between a hot home or paying for a/c and losing their home. They have to do what is best for them, not the nurses. If a nurse doesn't like it, the agency will find another that will work there without complaint. Part of our job is working in many different home environments.
    No family in their right mind would allow a nurse to take over their home including the temp. I've seen nurses go in homes and rearrange things and change the thermostat. That is wrong unless permission has been given.

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