Verbal abuse from patients?

  1. AAArrrrrgh!! for the first time in ages I've met a patient I cannot stand. Granted I work on a Senior Psych Unit at a local hospital, I do not know how much verbal abuse we should take esp. coming from an alert and orientated pt. x3. So the hospital upped the admitting age limit to 50 years onwards. Culprit last night was a 50-something y/o female who is manic depressive. Sometime at around 3am, we got an admission. A 96y/o that had gone physical on her daughter. Sweetest thing ever but she was hitting, biting, screaming, name it. We had to call security and she ended up getting an IM. During nights there's only 2 CNAs so the other aide was put to do a 1:1 with the new pt and I had to run the floor by myself. Now, back to the 50 something y/o..she thinks we hurt people on the ward. So here I was re-directing other patients and everything then she sat outside the nursing station and started hurling insults. Said I was the worst of them all, touched on race (even though she is Hispanic - am black), said I would never amount to anything, gave me the finger etc. It had been a very hectic night and I normally get along very well with almost all the pts. She was rude and she was doing it such that no one else could hear this hurls of insults. She followed me and actually looked like she was trying to bully me. Honestly and truly, she got under my skin. The nurses were super busy doing notes getting ready to go to the report meeting I didn't want to bother them. Luckily for me, when I was leaving as I was talking to another CNA, she walked over to where we were and continued with the bullying. Oh, and she tried to change the story and said that I gave her the middle finger when in real sense SHE gave me the middle finger. She got really personal and as much as we are told to ignore it, I really couldn't I don't mind getting this kind of behavior from old demented patients but an alert and oriented one??? . I was doing my job, and I did it well. No one fell, no one got hurt, no one (else) was upset, every body's needs were met. How is it that we have places for patients to call when they feel threatened and/or abused. Who ever takes care of our needs? Who cares if we get threatened or abused? I can't wait for her to be discharged!!
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    About shix

    Joined: Mar '10; Posts: 44; Likes: 15
    CNA; from US


  3. by   tigerlogic
    It's tough to be yelled at. Some days it takes me a while to shake it off. I've yet to work psych but the grumpy smokers on the respiratory wing and occasionally a "but I'm hungry !!" diabetics can also be naaaassssty. I focus on maintaining my physical safety and reminding myself that they don't know me--and therefore their personal attacks are meaningless. It also helps that I'm super grateful that I'm not in LTC anymore so I never see the abusive patient *every* day. Good luck!
  4. by   northernguy
    I'll never forget one patient who was admitted numerous times, with longer stays each time. He was a bed jumper who was continually pulling off his telemetry leads and o2, hitting his call light and swearing up a storm and verbally abusing whatever staff was unlucky enough to be taking care of him. Occasionally he would try to choke someone or take a swing. He punched one unsuspecting RT in the back of the head. He was in his late 60s, and when he wanted to be, such as when his daughter was in the room, he could act almost completely normal.

    His wife was what him so difficult to deal with. Everytime he would be going off she would say its all OUR fault, or even threaten a lawsuit. I remember one time my shift had just started when he hit his call light. As I walked into the room he threw his open urinal at me and said"bout f*&^in time one of you &$^#ers showed up!"(this was like 20 seconds after he hit his light). After dodging the urinal and most of its contents, I looked at his wife standing next to him, expecting her to chastise him or apologize for his behavior, or try to calm him down. Instead she said, "I guess he doesnt like you, better get someone else to take care of him". This is pretty much how it went with every aide and nurse, every time he was there. I would end up spending half the night continually going into his room, then trying to get out to help my other patients. Occasionally we would have a sitter for him, but most of the time not.

    I remember the last couple times he was admitted I would be looking at my patient list and see his name and think NOOOOOOO!!! It made for some really long nights.
  5. by   mindyfromcali
    It's never easy to deal with those types of patients. The main thing I try to remember is they're probably in pain, don't feel very good about being sick, or whatever else may be causing them to be acting like that. Maybe they're just not a nice person and they're abusing what they feel is a position of authority by being a patient. Regardless, it has nothing to do with me, and all I can do is remember my training and not react. I'm not saying that is at all easy though. Sometimes I have to just say I'll be right back and leave the room to count to ten. ::hugs::
  6. by   Skayda
    Oh believe me, I hear where you're coming from! I have one little old lady who will pretend she's too sick and helpless to get out of bed for breakfast when it's hot and on the table usually around nine which isn't too early when she has no problem getting up and down and walking across the house at a pretty good clip no matter what time it is or when she woke up because she likes to stay up late watching TV and doesn't want to get up for breakfast with the rest of her housemates and she will yell at me for telling her that her food is ready. Today I told her that breakfast was ready and she goes "I'm too sick to eat." I said "That's too bad. I hope you feel better. So, would like me throw out your breakfast?" She said I might as well as she wasn't going to eat it. So I bring her her morning meds and a glass of juice to her because I'm trying to be accommodating, you know? And she goes "Don't you know how to take care of sick people?!" (I had taken her temp, pulse and blood pressure when she first mentioned feeling ill and they were all normal), I said "It doesn't matter if you feel sick or not; you still need your pills. Either you take them now or I flush them and write "resident refused morning meds"" So, After a bit of complaining she took her pills . Then, about a half hour later she calls for me and asks me where her breakfast is (right now it's closer to lunch than breakfast and I have showers to give and chores to do) so I reminded her that I threw it out like she wanted because she said she was too sick to eat. She shakes her fists and glares at me and goes "Just you wait til I tell on you about this, you stupid ____!" So, seeing as I didn't have time to cook a whole new meal for her and still have time to get lunch under way and served I compromised and brought her cold cereal, toast and two slices of frozen microwaveable precooked bacon. Again she yelled at me about how stupid I was and how much trouble I was going to get into. I told my boss what happened and she said that I handled it all perfectly. She said "Next time she talks like that to you say to her 'You do not speak to me like that!' and if she keeps it up I want you to walk away and you are done helping her for that particular need and she will either have to do it herself or wait for you and be more polite." The old woman will also yell and call names to staff on duty if they don't bring her in a tylonel in the morning even though it's a PRN and not a routine med so we aren't suppose to bring it to her automatically! Everyone on staff there goes round and round with her over her PRN tylonel and breakfast, etc. When she comes to the table for meals by the time she decides she's hungry enough to come out of her room to the dining room her food has gotten cold and so she will get on her phone in her room later and snidely complain to her family members about the "crappy service in this place." I pretty much just smile and agree with whatever she's saying whenever she has a tantrum about something. Oh, another one is she'll ask about having a shower and we'll say sure whenever your ready but every time we ask her she says not now maybe later and then it's the end of the shift and she's yelling and complaining about how "lazy" and "unhelpful" the workers here are. But other days she's very nice and we actually have conversations! So, I guess a lot has to do with a resident's mood, etc. Still it's not fun being yelled at, called names and threatened.
  7. by   minnymi
    okay, she's a 50 something in LTC....she's probably isolated. she can't relate to 70-80 year olds on their death beds and she can't relate to 20-30ish people who are caring for her. plus, even if she could, the workers don't have time to socialize with her.
    she might try to bully another resident in their 70-80s, but what good would that do? they probably are on another planet so they don't give her the "fun" reactions she craves.

    she needs ATTENTION! you give it to her! even if you try to ignore her, she knows by your "talking with another worker," or your body language, or facial expressions....that she HAS your attention.

    i know as a CNA in LTC it's hard to have a spare moment, but when you get one, why don't you try something different? go sit down in her room and talk to her. ask her about her life....let her know you're interested. that's what she REALLY wants. she can't get any positive attention so she'll take the negative. just try it....even if u think it won't work...and let us know how it goes.
    Last edit by minnymi on Jun 14, '12 : Reason: spelling