Threatened by Patient Family - page 3

While helping a co-worker (so she could eat lunch) I was threatened by a patient's family; they made specific, violent treats towards me. I immediately reported this to my supervisor and one of our... Read More

  1. by   Susan9608
    I spoke with my manager today. She says she doesn't really feel like any of the staff are in danger from this family, but that she will go and speak to them again and deliver the message a little more firmly. She said if anything inappropriate is said again, security will escort them out and not allow them to return. She also said she'd speak to the therapist and let her know that her approach wasn't the best.

    So ... from their perspective, the problem is handled. Not quite sure how I feel about it. Why wasn't security notified the first time? Why weren't they escorted out the first time? And why do they not feel like the staff is in jeopardy? I can't help but wonder if it was the management who was threatened, if a bigger deal would have been made .....

    So I don't know what to do/think at this point. I guess I'll have security escort me in and out (my manager did say this could be arranged) and wait and see what happens. Seems kind of like a bum deal, but what else can I do, besides quit?
  2. by   ShayRN
    Please don't let this drop. Take it up the chain of command. Remember, even if you don't: document names, dates and times. (((HUGS))) You really are being put in a crummy spot.
  3. by   Rnandsoccermom
    Every facility has a policy regarding patients rights AND responsibilities, this includes the family members. They DO NOT have the right to threaten you in any manner. You have the right as an employee to feel safe at work, that is also somewhere in your employee handbook. If they continue to ignore this, find your employee handbook and your hospital policies and start quoting them, they have to stand buy them legally.

    BTW, I am a supervisor, and will throw a visitor out of the facility. I also have been threaten, and the patient was discharged that day, you don't have to take that.
  4. by   I love my cat!
    Healthcare facilities need to stop catering to families, now! Hospitals are there for the patients. I understand that families are important for a patient, but really, enough is enough. Hospital employees should not have to put up with any type of abuse.
    I honestly believe that anyone who visits a patient should have to sign a contract prior to any visitation. In this contract, every obvious thing would be spelled out very clearly. There would be clauses that state how they may talk to staff, repercussions if threats/intimidation/raised voices are used, limiting the number of family members in a room at a time. Rules regarding bringing in medications and food to the patient w/o prior approval, cell-phone use while staff is in the room, etc. It would also be noted that Staff is required to report any people that disregard these rules and that it will be addressed ASAP.
    Can't abide by the contract rules which are basically common sense and common courtesy? Well, no visitation for you.
    Easy and simple.
  5. by   caliotter3
    Quote from Susan9608
    I spoke with my manager today. She says she doesn't really feel like any of the staff are in danger from this family, but that she will go and speak to them again and deliver the message a little more firmly. She said if anything inappropriate is said again, security will escort them out and not allow them to return. She also said she'd speak to the therapist and let her know that her approach wasn't the best.

    So ... from their perspective, the problem is handled. Not quite sure how I feel about it. Why wasn't security notified the first time? Why weren't they escorted out the first time? And why do they not feel like the staff is in jeopardy? I can't help but wonder if it was the management who was threatened, if a bigger deal would have been made .....

    So I don't know what to do/think at this point. I guess I'll have security escort me in and out (my manager did say this could be arranged) and wait and see what happens. Seems kind of like a bum deal, but what else can I do, besides quit?
    I can assure you that management would rather see you quit, because they see you as the problem rather than the family.
  6. by   rngolfer53
    Quote from Susan9608
    I spoke with my manager today. She says she doesn't really feel like any of the staff are in danger from this family, but that she will go and speak to them again and deliver the message a little more firmly. She said if anything inappropriate is said again, security will escort them out and not allow them to return. She also said she'd speak to the therapist and let her know that her approach wasn't the best.

    So ... from their perspective, the problem is handled. Not quite sure how I feel about it. Why wasn't security notified the first time? Why weren't they escorted out the first time? And why do they not feel like the staff is in jeopardy? I can't help but wonder if it was the management who was threatened, if a bigger deal would have been made .....

    So I don't know what to do/think at this point. I guess I'll have security escort me in and out (my manager did say this could be arranged) and wait and see what happens. Seems kind of like a bum deal, but what else can I do, besides quit?
    On what did the manager base the assessment that the staff wasn't in danger? Hunch? The therapist's feeling? The family suddenly changing their tune or making excuses?

    The manager, without a thorough psych eval of the family members, doesn't have a clue. She's not qualified to make that judgment.
  7. by   NursingStudent5548
    We have had similar issues in a small town nursing home...Although the families aren't the problem the in one case are part of the solution and attempt to help...

    We have an dementia patient who has been kicked out of every facility within an hours drive...

    She has punched, bit, and broke fingers and toes... I was personally scared of her and refused to work with her... (was pregnant)...Any time her aide was on break and a problem arised, I went and got the nurse...

    Sorry but one blow to my stomach could have resulted in determental problems..

    We were informed the state didn't care if she hurt staff...we could duck!! Yeah right...I couldn't out waddle that woman if I tried...not to mention she was HUGE!! She was 6'2" stocky and would give most men a run for their money!!

    Our state is going restraint-free as well (chemical and physical) I'd like to know what they plan to do with these kind of patients...
    I almost think it would be funny to tell her those are the people that won't let you have sugar (diabetic)...and then run as she goes to the unsuspecting state inspectors!!

    The family would come to assist with this one...

    The other dementia patient would roam and everytime she came to this particular resident would beat the heck out of her...would go for the head!!

    The assaulted resident had cerbral palsy and did nothing wrong...She would want to be left in the open she liked to "greet" people as she came in...She could clearly say No and Yes and point to where she wanted wheeled or what she wanted!!!

    It wasn't fair when they started blocking her from blows behind a half moon table against her will....It really wasn't fair when the dementia resident would still get to her and hurt her...

    The dementia patient was sent off numerous times to behaviour wards (who would refuse to take her back)!! This patients family says it the other residents problem (this woman was stuck in a dresser drawer for days as a child...and then left for the CIRCUS freak show to deal with)
  8. by   flightnurse2b
    i was recently standing in the hallway charting when a patient's family member came up to me out of nowhere and grabbed my wrist and threatened that if "the doctor didn't come in 15 minutes she was going to sue everyone's ass she could get her hands on".

    i firmly explained to her that number one, she will not put her hands on me and number two, she will not threaten me. she got angry and started yelling and was a millimeter away from my face with her arm tightening around my wrist. another nurse was in the hallway and mouthed to her help... so she got on the phone and hit operator and called a "code gray". within 30 seconds, there were seriously 30 people surrounding her in the hallway. a code gray is a security alert, called when at any time you feel threatened verbally or physically by a patient or their family. it's a show of force, really.

    my director as well as risk management showed up and had her escorted off the premises. you bet your butt if you review that patient's chart, not only are there overzealous amounts of notes by me about the patient and attempting to call the doctor, there are even more about the wife's increasingly rotten behavior.

    do not work for someone who does not protect you.
    put everything in writing. document everything. notify risk management and be prepared to get another job. do not sacrifice your well being.

    i wish you all the best.
  9. by   Susan9608
    I spoke with the management again, after they spoke to the family. Apparently, (according to a family member who was not present when the statements were made) there was a misunderstanding about the context of the comments.

    Whatever. I don't buy that for a second.

    But, the management did state that this family has been given ever appropriate avenue to address their stress and concerns (which is certainly true. In addition to having the therapist visit them every other day, my manager also lets them come to her office to vent for an hour or so every few days), so that in the future, any inappropriate comment, whether taken out of context or not, will result in the family being escorted off the unit and not allowed back.

    I am glad that the consequences of further comments were spelled out very clearly. I have to wonder, though, how seriously the family will take it given that they essentially got away with it this time.

    I'm not sure what the right thing to do here is. I talked to an attorney, who told me I essentially have no rights. I referred the situation to management, which was the right first step, and now, since this is how management has chose to handle it, any further efforts on my part could be considered "insubordination" and I could be fired.

    Isn't it amazing that I'm the one who was threatened, yet I'm the only one who appears to be facing any consequences? I fully understand now why so many people choose to leave nursing.
  10. by   caliotter3
    I didn't have to worry about getting another job after I was assaulted on the job and stalked and harassed by another person in the course of my employment. After insuring that I understood that I was the problem and that these men could do what they pleased, my employer saw that I didn't work for them anymore. They even blessed me by insuring that I wouldn't work for anyone else. My solution: weapon of choice. To hell with the employer.
  11. by   lindarn
    Quote from caliotter3
    I didn't have to worry about getting another job after I was assaulted on the job and stalked and harassed by another person in the course of my employment. After insuring that I understood that I was the problem and that these men could do what they pleased, my employer saw that I didn't work for them anymore. They even blessed me by insuring that I wouldn't work for anyone else. My solution: weapon of choice. To hell with the employer.
    I hope that you retained an attorney and sued the pants off of them. That is all that these people understand. I truly feel that nurses do not know how to stand up and assert their rights, using our legal system. Make no mistake, your employer would not give a second thought to bringing legal action against you, if they thought that they could get away with it. JMHO and my NY $0.02.

    Lindarn, RN, BSN, CCRN
    Spokane, Washington
  12. by   caliotter3
    Quote from lindarn
    I hope that you retained an attorney and sued the pants off of them. That is all that these people understand. I truly feel that nurses do not know how to stand up and assert their rights, using our legal system. Make no mistake, your employer would not give a second thought to bringing legal action against you, if they thought that they could get away with it. JMHO and my NY $0.02.

    Lindarn, RN, BSN, CCRN
    Spokane, Washington
    My attorney served the employer with a cease and desist and would go no further. I was told that the employer could do as they pleased and it was up to me to "prove everything".
  13. by   caliotter3
    I was also told by another attorney that I had to become a statistic before I could take action against one of my attackers. I was told the same thing by law enforcement. Thus, weapon of choice. I've slept with it for years now.

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