Had a patient call the unit after discharge today

  1. It was one of those tough love conversations. "He didn't tell you his last name or give you a phone number for a reason. I'm trying to save you a lot of headaches later. Only hook up with the people who show up. No show... no go. Right? You've got enough on your plate. He's not going to keep you sober, you gotta keep YOU sober. There's a reason you don't walk out on thin ice. You throw a rope, and it's up to HIM to grab it. He doesn't grab, you don't swim out."

    My patient didn't want to hear it. He was having a panic attack, he started crying, then his pride got in the way and he hung up. Well, I told him how it is, and it didn't end well.

    There's nothing I can do if he winds up shooting up again. If he's going to blame going out again on this kid who blew him off, then that's his problem. I have to stay here at the hospital churning the fresh meat up into something capable of sobering up. Once you're clean for a week it's up to you.

    Another day in the life.
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    About algebra_demystified

    Joined: Sep '06; Posts: 220; Likes: 209
    Mental Health RN; from US
    Specialty: 3 year(s) of experience in Forensic Psychiatric Nursing


  3. by   Novo
    It's a vicious cycle.
  4. by   sharpeimom
    i know it doesn't help very much but sometimes you can do your best, do everything
    possible, and it still won't be enough. been there and done that. i was in various
    areas of psych nursing to be wide-eyed any more.
  5. by   Elladora
    I hate those calls. I want each and every one of my people to succeed when they leave us. Sad reality is many of them don't.
  6. by   Meriwhen
    When they discharge from the unit, as much as it pains me...the blunt truth is that what I can do for them is severely limited. I can tell them that if they think they need our help to come back in for a reassessment.

    I find that most patients who do call aren't calling in crisis but are calling because they want coddling and for me to do the work for them in their recovery. I can't make appointments for them. I can't fight battles with their outpatient doctor or pharmacy for them. I can't call in a refill for a medication that was not authorized for refills or was given by an outside doctor. I can't find them a new therapist. I can't offer medical advice over the phone.

    Also, once they are discharged my official relationship with them has ended, and HIPAA prevents me from getting involved in a lot of things.