financial donation to a needy patient

  1. I took care of a patient who is homeless . He said he lives in a vehicle with his wife and one cat for three months. I feel sad for his situation knowing that I should feel grateful for what I have in life. I thought about offering a little donation like monetary. Is it appropriate to offer monetary donation or any things that they may need. I don't want to be out of bond of the facility policy. I would really appreciate all your inputs.
    Happy Thanksgiving to all
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    About bounjour

    Joined: Nov '18; Posts: 1; Likes: 1

    22 Comments

  3. by   beekee
    Absolutely not. Refer to social services. My employer gives away donated clothes to those in need, but I would never give money or anything directly from me to a patient.
  4. by   Nature_walker
    Working in the psych ED I see a lot of homeless people come through. We offer all the community services we have to help them and give them a hot shower and food while they are on the floor, but giving money is a big no no. It's very hard to see people in these situations, however do the best job you can and show them you care about them in a professional way while they are under your care. Get in touch with social work to find out what resources are out there for this pt and his family.
  5. by   Jedrnurse
    Support established social services instead with money and even your time if you can. Become as familiar as you can with what's out there so you can give knowledgeable referrals to your patients. (Without stepping on your social services department's toes, of course...)
  6. by   KelRN215
    Absolutely not. Refer to social work.
  7. by   verene
    No, absolutely not. It is a major boundary violation. About 25% of the patients I work with are homeless. Yes it is heartbreaking to hear their stories, but you cannot fix the entire psycho-social-enconomic system that leads to homelessness single-handedly. My facility provides a clothing closet, laundry services, hot food and showers, and referrals to social service organizations, including shelters, housing services, clinics, food banks etc. What you can do as a nurse is see this individual as a human being, care for him professionally, and bring social services into his care if they are not already involved.

    In working with this population I have found learning about organizations in my community who provide services to the homeless, gaining a clear understanding of their services (and the barriers patients may face in obtaining them) allows me to offer realistic advice and support to my homeless patients. Additionally, I provide support to organizations that support the homeless population, and advocate for social policies in my community that will hopefully address the underlying systemic issues that drive homelessness - which helps to assuage some of the moral distress that comes with treating and streeting vulnerable patients.
  8. by   Wheels28
    Just a patient--- As others said it's NOT a good idea to give them money. They may come back and ask you for more, best just to refer them to the proper services. With that being said sometimes, the best gift you could give someone is an ear and your time, in their time of need.

    I have never been homeless, but whenever I was in the hospital and going through a hard time, it meant a lot when my nurse or CNA would sit and talk with me about what was going on with me or just about life, or went out of their way to get a snack I liked ect. The patient may remember the time you spent with them, the kindness and care you provided for the rest of their lives. Like the saying goes "it's the little things that matter".
  9. by   not.done.yet
    I want to add that your hospital likely has a written policy regarding this.
  10. by   bsyrn
    I would not give something directly to a patient, however there are plenty of things you could do. Donating or volunteering with a local homeless organization is a great place to start.
  11. by   JKL33
    Volunteer!

    Only word of caution is that once you get involved, you will want to quit your day job.

    So many places need help and are usually hurting for people who can make a regular commitment - even if you don't happen to be in a situation to be able to make a "huge" commitment. If you can show up for two hours every other Wednesday, for example, they'll take you.

    You can donate time, goods, services, money, etc. to some very worthy causes. There's even a good chance you can find an organization that is of personal interest in which to do these things.
  12. by   RNrhythm
    Thank-You to the OP and all who replied. I was wondering the exact same thing, myself.
  13. by   K+MgSO4
    Quote from RNrhythm
    Thank-You to the OP and all who replied. I was wondering the exact same thing, myself.
    Why on earth would you think it was OK? Hospitals have policies about this and it should of been taught at school. I have had to counsel staff on friending ex patients on social media who are obviously struggling with their mental health.

    In a effort to assist I communicate regularly to my staff about the clothes cupboard if they want to donate old clothes, our foundation does a food collection before Christmas.
  14. by   TriciaJ
    Here's another caution: you have no idea what your money will actually be used for. It may provide food or other much-needed items, or you may unwittingly contribute to someone's substance abuse problem, which is why he might be homeless in the first place. This is why I'll echo the advice of previous posters: support your local resources. They have policies and programs to help ensure their help really is helping and not inadvertently adding to someone's problems.

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