Families, are they getting more demanding?

  1. The LTAC where I work has, lately, been getting patients that come with demanding family members attached. I.E. we have one patient that is unresponsive, and the wife insists that he gets morphine every 15 minutes for pain. This is even when he is sleeping and resting comfortably. She even insists that a certain nurse not take care of her husband because he supposedly refused to give the morphine. (He didn't, but that's another story.) We have family members at the bedside constantly interfering with the patient's care. Getting in the staff's way, and constantly demanding this or that for their loved one, requesting certain staff members not take care of their loved one for various stupid reasons, etc. I guess I am rambling, but has anyone else noticed a trend in the rise of demanding families? It's no wonder there is a nursing shortage. Nurses are overworked and overstressed out by the end of their shift. Just wondering what experiences everyone else has had.

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    About MrsWampthang

    Joined: Oct '03; Posts: 706; Likes: 146
    RN in Prior Authorization for State Sponsored Business
    Specialty: Emergency room, med/surg, UR/CSR


  3. by   jmgrn65
    YES and that is why after 15 years i am getting out of bedside nursing.
  4. by   LeahJet
    The Public is really catching on to this "Customer Service" hogwash.

    It is inappropriate for healthcare. Plain and simple.

    Hey Pam.... great pic of you and M. Tell him hello....miss you guys!!
  5. by   clemmm78
    It's not just in nursing. People are becoming more and more obnoxious and demanding. Look at the way some parents treat school employees, and I've seen some real nasty behaviour from the public towards waitstaff in restaurants and store clerks.

    I think the demanding families of patients is just an extension of the eroding courtesy and the me-first in our society.
  6. by   Antikigirl
    I think it is a combination of the public watching the MD shows, fear of 'nursing shortage', the media wave on how horrible healthcare is (but not addressing the REAL probelms), even more on nurse or MD mistakes in the news, and the internet making what I call "net docs" out of any layman! YEAH RIGHT!

    I mean, have you noticed that patients and their families/friends have increased in talking about "their research" on the net, or bringing up excuses because of "the nursing shortage and horrible state of healthcare in the US"? Heck, when I try to find the underlying cause of why a family/friend is being so overly critical..I usually hear a combo of these!

    It is great that the public is wanting to learn more about their or loved ones health...but the fact that it doesn't qualify them to care for their loved ones in a medical facility or get in the way of treatment! The tv shows...well that is pure BS and I tell people that when they say "well on Grays Anatomy....". I say "well watch those MD's and see how many times they put their steths in the wrong way...personally hubby and I made a game out of it!".

    Many times I have to tell pts families/friends..."I appreciate your involvement very much, however...you are in a medical facility that has total responsiblity for this patient as long as they are in here, I have to go by state and federal standards to ensure their safety and security as well as health. There are reasons behind why I do or do not do something you feel is needed, and I will be glad to explain it to you if you care to listen...and I will involve you in your loved ones care where appropriate.".

    I had a patients family that wanted their loved on having morphine too...and infact one nurse was so intimidated by them that she did exactly that to excess and narcan city! Poor woman was out for a few days and couldn't get any more pain meds because it would knock her resps down! Poor thing was in pain, then the family had a cow since morphine wasn't given every 30 minutes...oh and did I get an earful! I explained AGAIN why we couldn't give these medications, and how the resp and BP would lower to dangerous levels as a side effect...and one of them said "what is this BP thing you keep talking about..." as if I made it up!!!!!!! I said blood pressure and gave my BP lecture about hoses and a spicot...and she boldly said to me "you are full of BP BS...there is no such thing". She was excorted out by security within 10 minutes because she "was hindering treatment to my patient!!!!!" and I had her booted out! I had had enough of her yelling, name calling..and now calling me a liar about a fact almost 99% of the earth knows about!!!!!! (what an idiot!!!!!!!!!). She was far to stubborn and uneducated to be of any help!

    The patient was fine and told us that her family keeps her snowed all the time, and she doesn't want all that medicine...that infact ibuprofen helps with her chronic pain! We had social services get her into a facility (she agreed) instead of living with family! Poor lady..they kept her so snowed that she couldn't even tell them to stop it!

    Family and friends may think they are doing well by the patient, and complain and demand things from nurses...but bottom line to me, they dont' matter a wink if it comes down to patient safety, security, and health...and I will have them escorted out if they cause trouble for my patients!
  7. by   nrsang97
    I agree with Clemm. Famlies and society are getting more and more demanding. My hubby was working at the local cable company and the calls that he would tell me about were rediculous (sp?).

    We had a VIP pt on our floor and his wife was getting more and more irrational. She refused to let a nurse take care of him because she hadn't seen him before. (Staff knew this and the charge shouldn't have given a float/tact nurse this pt).

    So we are all dealing with the same thing in nursing as in the customer service world. This is because the hospital administration wants us to use the pt is a "customer" B.S..

    If you want the Ritz-Carleton then go there.
  8. by   lorster
    Quote from LeahJet
    The Public is really catching on to this "Customer Service" hogwash.

    It is inappropriate for healthcare. Plain and simple.

    Hey Pam.... great pic of you and M. Tell him hello....miss you guys!!
    You are absolutey right. I refer to it as the 5 star hotel customer approach and most of our hospitals are going toward this with regards to patient care. The customer is always right attitude and I don't think our hospital cares how it truely impacts patient care and nurse burnout and shortage. I've been here 18 years and it is the primary reason I'm burned out. The patients in our hospital are reguesting bottled water and organic vegan diets. I feel like I work in a spa most days. I'm taking a traveling job and if it is the same thing there, I'm going to work in a different profession.
  9. by   Tweety
    No, I really haven't noticed an increase in family demands. For the 15 years I've been in nursing they have been a pain in the butt the entire time. LOL

    I can completely totally relate to what you're saying. Family's can be a pain in the butt for sure.

    I notice that quite a bit of the family complaints centers around the doctors "when is the doctor coming in?", "when will we get our test restults?", "the doctor hasn't spoken to me yet, she just comes in and out and doesn't say a word?".
  10. by   Cattitude
    i do not miss bedside, that's for sure, almost 7 yrs was enough for me.
    i remember one morning after working a very busy noc, a pt's brother came up to the unit desk to speak with me about the pt. well, later that week i got called in to the don office and blown away when she told me that this family member had made a complaint against me. me and this guy hadn't even had bad words or anything!!! he complained that i was "rude with an attitude". uh, no maybe tired??? i mean i was really shocked. i had taken care of what he needed, wasn't nasty to him at all. i ended up with a verbal discipline. the nurse is never right, never. that stinks.
  11. by   Antikigirl
    I have actually asked people the old "A/O" questions when they start ordering me around like I was a maid/hotel employee. They are shocked when I start asking them to tell me the date, president...and I say "oh, I was checking on your orientation because I thought you weren't aware you are in a hospital for a moment there"....
  12. by   auntcharsattic1
    I kid you not- the other night I had a lady literally screaming because I was not there with her scheduled benadryl for an imaginary rash exactly at 9pm. AND- had her daughter on her room phone demanding to talk to me. Excuse me- I'm across the hall dealing with an emergency pt with severe chest pain and skyrocketing BP at the moment and giving her nitroglycerine -your benadryl is not my priority right now... She had the neerve to say she didn't care...uggg!

    Then same night, husband royally mad because hospital transferred wife to rehab without "his" permission. BTW she was fully competant and capable of making her own decisions. He was actually threatening to kick my butt only not as nicely as that. I tried to explain that 1) we aren't affiliated with that hospital so he'd have to complain to them about what he felt they did wrong 2) he wife agreed to be moved. Then he was screaming for her meds the minute she got there (which takes awhile to get faxed to pharmacy and then profiloe put into the pixxis), and they were all HS meds anyway and it was only about 7 pm, then started following me around everywhere. FInally had to involve the RN and let her deal with him- ugh ugh ugh... Then had 4 different family members calling for condition status and mad I couldn't tell them anything because of HIPPA, why didn't they call her room and talk to her or her husband who was MPO? So, yes, of course that made him mad too...
    I keep thinking like someone else said earlier "Hi, My name is Kay, and I'll be your server tonight"...
  13. by   AliRae
    Quote from TriageRN_34
    I have actually asked people the old "A/O" questions when they start ordering me around like I was a maid/hotel employee. They are shocked when I start asking them to tell me the date, president...and I say "oh, I was checking on your orientation because I thought you weren't aware you are in a hospital for a moment there"....
    Oh, I need to use that. Unfortunately, my little ones have no clue who the president is, and it would be little fishy if I started asking their parents...

    I had the aunt of a patient sit in the window seat of her room and holler out the door while I was giving report "NURSE! NURSE! GET IN HERE!" For no reason. I went in, addressed the issue, and, speaking to the kid, said "Okay, I have to finish telling the next nurse about you. Think you can hang for a couple more minutes?" The next time the woman neeed something, she came to the dor and asked politely. However, the next day the nurse told me she was snapping her fingers and beckoning.

    We shouldn't be be treated like this. Like someone said, this isn't the Ritz. We had a family last night get all huffy because we kicked family members out of an intubated, wild teenager's room. She needed rest, it wasn't safe. End of story. And now they're threatening to complain, and we have to get the patient rep involved! We're the bad guys because we wanted to make sure this girl was safe. =/
  14. by   Antikigirl
    Oh we had a pt that was taken in for suicidal ideation and she was young. She was immediately made into a ward of the state and taken from her mother (parents divorsed).

    SO the father shows up, and he is allowed to go in. Then the mother, who was in question, walked right in...ignoring the huge red "stop, check with nurse before entering" sign and boom..walked right into the husband in the room. Needless to say it was not pretty..and the husband came out screaming bloody murder at our unit secretary telling her that she should have stopped her, and to get 'a set of balls you B****".

    Ummmm hi! We are not security that stands by a room questioning everyone that enters! The stop sign was ingored, and we have other patients to tend to...and a unit secretary isn't security either, and doesn't need a set of balls since she is a woman! I heard what happened and that the unit secretary didn't do anything...both people were escorted out by security, state called, both banned from the room! (the father was harrassing the pt anyway...calling her stupid, blaming her for the alleged abuse, calling her names...and things only increased when 'mom' came in...you could hear them on the next floors!).

    HOw and why would anyone EVER think you can get away with that type of behavior in a hospital!!!!! There are ill patients there that should be respected, professionals that should be respected, and the poor patient that shouldn't be victimized by more stress then their bodies already have going on!!!!

    Oh yeah..he complained and threatened to sue...yeah right...it won't happen nor would it make it past the hospital lawyers and our documentation!