Dirty Business


  • Specializes in med surg ltc psych. Has 3 years experience.

Hello to all, I'm sure this isn't the first time this has been posted or mentioned on this forum. But I still have to ask. I assisted a CNA a few nights ago and as she was finishing up the task of cleaning a gentleman, the wet wash cloths she was using that were completely soiled were dumped on his over the bed table and thrown against the cupboard doors of the sink as they were landing on the floor. There was visible feces on the his table and on the cupboard door handles. I was darn near paralyzed by what I was witnessing. I could not say a word in front of the patient. What the ****? She did not clean any of these surfaces up, grabbed the linens off the floor, slid the soiled wash cloths off the table, said thank you and left the room. I just stood there looking at these surfaces knowing I could not/would not walk away without making a supreme effort to get those surfaces clean of feces. I hunted down a few sani cloths to disinfect all the surfaces as best I could from what I observed. This man's drinking cups and food were on that table! Should I or could I have made a mention of this to any of the nurses that night? Or keep quiet and just thank god I happened to be in the room and finish decontaminating the room. I am a nursing student, I am a newly hired CNA on an acute care floor at a hospital. When I made a mention of a different scenario in the past , I got jumped all over by the other veteran CNA's. And when I asked the CNA's directly if this was how it's usually done they got verbally nasty with me. Keep your mouth shut and go on about your own job and your own business. What can I do in the future when I see unsafe unclean business? :o


27 Posts

Specializes in geriatric care.

In every facility there is the name and phone number of the

Ombudsman who is an advocate for the resident. If you call

them you might use the word "abuse" and "negligence" (which,

in a sense IS what was happening to this man) and the Ombudsman will

be there within 24 hours and will question the CNA's involved. You

can also ask for the phone # of the state agency that comes in

every 12-15 months to check out the place, you can call them

and tell them what is happening. When you call the Ombudsman they

will ask your name but will NOT use it when they come in. Just make sure you remind them NOT to use your name. This may sound extream but if we all don't report what we see these places will never get better and I would HATE for it to be my mother or father getting care like that.

Thank you so much for caring!! Sarah


220 Posts

Specializes in Telemetry.

I know it's a tough position to be in, but I'd say something for sure. As respectfully as possible I'll say "this needs to be cleaned up now right?" or "while you take out the linens, I'll stay here and finish cleaning up". Usually when you make it clear that you don't cut corners on stuff like that, other CNA's won't try to either. It's important for everyone involved. The other employees will end up getting sick too from contaminated surfaces when they go into rooms someone else has failed to keep clean. Setting a good example and ethics is such a big part of being a CNA. I do what I would want done in my own home for my own family. Sometimes certain people need to be reminded of this and if they still don't do the right thing then they need to be in another line of work. We are pt advocates, it is our job to prevent these types of things from happening.

jb2u, ASN, RN

1 Article; 862 Posts

Specializes in ICU, ER, Hemodialysis. Has 5 years experience.

You should never stand by and watch someone neglect or abuse a pt. You would be in the right for standing up for that resident. I know it is hard. Doing the right thing is usually the hard thing to do. You probably will have some repercussions, such as the other cna's not helping you, but at least you can sleep well at night knowing that you give quality care. I wish you all the best!!


ohmeowzer RN, RN

2,306 Posts

Specializes in ob/gyn med /surg.

you need to always report abuse or neglect if you see it. i would write up the incident and give it to the DON. i would of told and showed the charge nurse what the room looked like and what happened. the pt was helpless in the hands of that CNA. always be the pt advocate. i am a RN and i would of been very happy to handle the situation for you. when in doubt call the ombudsman.

Virgo_RN, BSN, RN

3,543 Posts

Specializes in Cardiac Telemetry, ED.

Absolutely not okay, and you need to say something. I would start with the chain of command before going directly to the DON or an ombudsman.


38,333 Posts

This situation is the direct responsibility of the assigned nurses and nursing supervisors to correct. You should bring it to their attention. If they blow you off, then it is time to go to the DON and the ombudsman. You can bring up the subject to your co-workers if you feel comfortable doing so. But try to be non-confrontational and do not deliberately bring down their wrath upon yourself. You have to work there also. You are very conscientious and wise. You might point out a way to place the soiled cloths together so that they don't cross contaminate. Like bringing a small plastic bag in for this purpose, then transferring the soiled linens into the bins where they belong. Ask the Director of Staff Development to give an inservice on the subject of infection control. She can talk about how Hep A is spread. If any of your co-workers ever had an acute case of Hep A, they wouldn't be so quick to spread feces around, I assure you.


454 Posts

Specializes in Home Health, Case Management, OR. Has 7 years experience.

That's horrible and darn right you should speak up and be that mans advocate!! What that CNA did affected personal dignity as well as cross contamination. Perhaps you should have asked the aide if she would like to eat her dinner from that bed table since she has no respect for other people. :angryfire If you witnessed that aide doing that, just imagine what she does when no one is looking. It is our job to keep our residents/patients safe and I know it puts you in a bad situation having to tell on a co-worker, but the wellbeing of those who cannot help themselves far outweigh a lazy aide with no compassion.

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