When staff accuse resident's of being racist? - page 2

It was reported to me recently that one of my staff has voiced concern in more than one instance of resident's on their unit being racist. Now mind you this is a special care unit with dementia and... Read More

  1. by   Jo Dirt
    I don't care what kind of a nutjob the patient is, words can still hurt, and what is coming out of their mouths most likely has always been there.
    I wouldn't take it, and you shouldn't expect this CNA to. Assign her/him to someone else.
  2. by   LesMonsterRN
    Quote from Suesquatch

    Demented means, well, crazy. And if you're black in, well, the world you'd better learn to deal with racist idiots before your head explodes.
    I really and thoroughly object to referring to the word demented as being crazy in this instance. A person with dementia has a loss of cognition. While they might also have psychiatric problems, having dementia alone doesn't make them crazy. They're perfectly sane within their frame of memory.
  3. by   nurse4theplanet
    I agree with the others who say reassign the CNA...make sure to reinforce the fact that it is not because you are dismissing her discomfort with racism, but because this pt's diagnosis does not allow for you to deal with the issue the way you could address it with a pt who was not cognitively impaired.

    My great grandmother had this same problem and she was 93 when we placed her in a nursing home. She was very fond of all her caregivers of any race, but she called them by racist terms. She meant no harm, she just didn't know any better. We were afraid it would cause problems with the staff but they were very understanding of her diagnosis(Alzheimer's dementia) and the fact that she was raised in a different era. We were so grateful for their understanding and the impeccable care they gave her.

    Definitely, some teaching would help the CNA as well. Perhaps this will help her to not feel any resentment towards the resident, or how the facility is choosing to handle the situation.
  4. by   CapeCodMermaid
    Two stories: We had a woman who was a racist....wouldn't let "those d**n black girlies" take care of her. She was demented, SHE was black, and the girlies she refered to were blonde haired, blue eyed white girls.
    Other story: My grandmother hated black people. She was only 4'8" and had been beaten up in the subway more than once by a black people who wanted her purse (they only had to grab it and run she was too little to fight back) She went into a nursing home where several of the CNAs were black and she was afraid of them. Then one day, she called me and said "I was wrong"...about what I asked...she said "You shouldn't have believed what I said before....not all negroes are bad...there is one here who is very very nice to me...don't judge people like I did". Mind you she wasn't demented, but if my grandmother could over come her bias, then most anyone else who is cognitively intact can as well. I've worked in places where the residents are very wealthy. One woman wanted 'the best' of everything. She told me she didn't want the black CNA to take care of her. I said "Oh, I guess you don't want the BEST CNA in the building.".....that took care of her and her attitude. He had that assignment the next week and she loved him.
    There will always be patients who don't like us for some reason or other. Take care of them the best you can, try to ignore what they say and know in most cases, it really ISN'T personal...especially if they are demented.
    Last edit by CapeCodMermaid on Jan 27, '07 : Reason: grammar oops
  5. by   banditrn
    I guess as a caucasian I've not had to put up with some of the racism some of the black people have have - especially from the older residents.

    If I weren't able to correct the resident, I'd reassign the CNA - they don't need to hear that crap day in and day out, even if the person is demented.
  6. by   leslie :-D
    Quote from banditrn

    If I weren't able to correct the resident, I'd reassign the CNA - they don't need to hear that crap day in and day out, even if the person is demented.
    i agree w/this.
    all the inservices in the world doesn't take the sting out of another's blatant biases.
    i cared for one (hospice) pt who referred to all blacks as "monkeys".
    and another pt who outright told any black staff that she didn't like them because they were "colored".
    i don't care if they have alzheimer's or not.
    the alzheimer's doesn't make them bigoted-it's their innermost, core personality that speaks volumes of its' truth.
    so we have to tolerate demented pts being disinhibited and understand they're not responsible for what they say.
    i have to disagree with that, some of the time.
    even if they do have a dx of dementia, i still enforce limit-setting and tell them their prejudices are unacceptable.
    sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

  7. by   marjoriemac
    In my last workplace we had several residents who made apparent 'racist' comments to non-white staff, all of these residents were demented and most got on with the same people at different times. The few who persistently made comments at nonwhite staff appeared more afraid than rude. I do believe in some areas, it can be intimidating for confused residents many of whom think they are children, many of whom grew up in areas predominantly one ethnicity. I think this proves the importance of life history but also shows the need for all in the nursing home (interstaff relations included) to be harmonious in order to make confused residentsfeel more at ease. Most of our staff took it well enough, laughed about it, as if it were no different to being called a more generic insult like ugly or stupid. I had a resident once who always greeted me with 'your mother's a *****'. She was great on her good days though!
  8. by   Paprikat
    We used to have a lady who would say horrid things to care aides that were Philipino or East Indian. Stuff like "Jesus doesn't like brown people." She was really nasty and I used to feel so bad for some of the care aides. Her dtr. said she was always like that and the managment was like "no much you can do about it."
  9. by   PeachPie
    A 97-year old black lady once called me a n*gger and told me to quit looking at her p*ssy while I was changing her brief. I'm so pale that my veins make me look like a zebra. Go figure.
  10. by   TrudyRN
    Well, the aide definitely needs to know that her patients are sick and that sick people might not always be polite. She needs to toughen her skin a little and not take offense so readily. That's a good life lesson, not just a good lesson for this particular case. A word is just a word, someone's opinion is just that. She doesn't have to accept or agree with what is said.

    It would be advisable to reassign her to protect the resident, the facility, and her but she really needs to understand that you can't guarantee that she will never be around this resident again (if some emergency or shortstaffing situation arises) or that some other resident won't say the same thing to her in the future.

    I think she should get into the habit of gently, very gently, courteously letting the offenders know that their words really are painful for her to hear. She should tell them that certain words carry a lot of painful memories and she hopes they will do her a big favor and try to get to know her as an individual and maybe grow to like her. She should let them know that she cares about them and wants to do a very good job of taking care of them. She needs to gently educate them, not take offense, especially in view of the fact that they are sick. If they don't respond favorably at first, she should just keep trying. When they see her heart of love in action, they might come around and grow to love and cherish and trust her. You never know. I hope she is mature enough and intelligent to do this.
    It's a tough call and I wish you luck.
  11. by   TrudyRN
    Now just curious - not to create a war, so please let's keep this civil. But I frankly am so tired of what seems to be the dominant view that only whites can be racists. Some of the worst racists I've ever met or known of are definitely not white. There is a radio personality on the air here who fits this description. She happens to be Negro. Her show is one big anti-white hatefest. I get the impression she has never, in her whole life, had one good or pleasant encounter with someone white. It is tremendously unfair, it is prejudiced. She proves that anyone can be racist. I once spoke to her and let her know my views on race relations, which are very modern, urban, cosmopolitan, '60's and let's all get along. Nothing I said, though, was good enough. The woman wanted to be angry. She wanted to fight and to hate whites. All I could do was pray for her.

    I have seen this same attitude in some Hispanic, Filipino, and Chinese nurses and other staff, including doctors. They absolutely seemed to just hate whites.

    Have any of you experienced this? That the prejudiced racist people are not all white?
  12. by   KellNY
    Well, there is a school of thought that RACISM=POWER+PREJUDICE (not just prejudice) and therefore in America only white people can truly be racist, as they continue to hold the majority socio-political power.

    And so, if you subscribe to this definition, black and brown people cannot be racist. Prejudice, yes. But not racist.
  13. by   Tiwi
    I haven't caught on as to whether the resident has dementia. If they do, I believe they say things that prior to their condition commencing they would not say. And their confusion wouldn't help either. It doesn't help the person being verbally abused, intended or no. Perhaps the solution would be to ask the affected staff member what they consider the best course of action should be? And perhaps a long term solution would be to involve the whole staff in developing a policy to help both staff, clients and families to deal with this problem, which is bound to represent in the future.