A question of Ethics

Nurses General Nursing


I worked in a LTC for almost 9 months, they had an incident over a weekend that involved two Alzheimers residents of the opposite gender, the nurse was notified as well as someone else, the people that notified them were reprimanded for the notification and were told that it was alright for such behavior to happen. Family members were not notified until 3 days later, by me. I was notified by the staff member that had been reprimandid, seeing as I was her supervisor and the residents were in my care on another day (not the day the incident happened). I have been an LPN for almost 6 yrs now, needless to say after speaking with the family member about the incident, I could no longer work for a company that put a resident at risk, so I quit. Now, I can not find a job anywhere, because when they ask why I quit, whom ever interviews, looks at me like I am nuts! As if a Facility director would never do such a thing!The family member requested I report them to the Ombudsman council but I didnt , I felt quitting my job was enough. Any advice?

Specializes in Critical Care/Coronary Care Unit,.

well, i'm not sure exactly what the situation was at the ltc. however, your responsibility is first and foremost to your patients. if you quit your job behind it, then it must be pretty serious....that being said....perhaps it should be reported. hopefully, it wasn't an abuse situation which must legally be reported to the state. if you don't feel comfortable reporting the facility, perhaps you could inform the family on how to go about doing so. good luck.

Specializes in ER, Trauma.

Can you give an example of how you answer the question of why you quit?

You need a neutral answer to why you quit - no need to give anyone else the juicy details. I'm not sure you were correct to notify family - since you were not on duty the day the incident happened, and only know about it second hand. But you are so vague about the nature of the incident it is hard to judge that.

Any way, you need a prepared answer along the lines of "looking for better opportunities", or "personal differences with the team". Never bad mouth a former employer or institution, you have no idea who knows who from other places. For all you know the director you are critizing is the prospective employer's sister!

somethings are not being told here, maybe because of hipaa, I am reading between the lines here, I think maybe a sexual encounter happened, between 2 dementia patients, not related? that would be difficult. If 2 dementia patients had ( lets say) a sexual encounter- would that be a violation of their rights, would that be abuse? I really don't know. If it was not a "forced" encounter. Does anyone know?

The family member requested I report them to the Ombudsman council but I didnt , I felt quitting my job was enough. Any advice?

Another question - you made your protest statement by quitting, but how does that protect the residents you left? If you believed it was serious enough to quit, WHY didn't you report it.

Specializes in NICU, Post-partum.

In many states, a mentally impaired person cannot legally consent to sex (assuming that is what happened here). To allow so if you are the caregiver, can be considered elder abuse or neglect and if the "other" party was also impaired, then they are not responsble, but the facility is.

It is reportable to the state.

Therefore, the facility has a legal right to protect demented patients from engaging in such activity.

Now, if you have two elderly love birds that are mentally healthy? Yes, that is their right.

But that doesn't sound like what happened, and I would have quit my job too.

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma.

Just tell them the truth..........you and yor previous facility had ethical differences and that you are not at liberty to discuss them........

Specializes in drug seekers and the incurably insane..

Since most of the residents where I work are mentally impaired....no, they cannot consent to any kind of sexual activity. You weren't on duty the day it happened; perhaps you don't have all the facts. Next time try to stay out of it, even though your intentions were honorable. Take care and good luck. Aaah...ethics.....couldn't tell ya 'cause I have none!!!*wine

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