Published Jun 25, 2004
My patient who I took care of for 5 months passed away recently. The family wants to give me a piece of pottery that she made. I politely refused because gifts are against company policy according to handbook. The family said that she told them before she died that she wanted me to have it. I accepted and said I would be honored to display it. (They had seemed so hurt) Did I do the wrong thing?
You probably did nothing wrong...on a humanitarian level you probably did something very right.
Speak to your supervisor(s), see what they say. I don't see it as that different from when a former patient or family member sends the nurse flowers or candy.
If it makes you feel better display it at work.
I personally was given a lilac bush from a family member after the death of their loved one. It was a baby from one of her bushes that I had admired. They gave it to me to remember them by. It was something important to their mother. because she and I had enjoyed it togethor. My company said it was okay because the value was nominal and helped the famly find closure.
renerian, BSN, RN
I gave the nurse who cared for my father a gift and she accepted and it made me feel very good to do so. I understand.
hoolahan, ASN, RN
Our policy is that we cannot accept gifts over $25. I have accepted little things. A patient's wife gave me a dog bed she made from fabric remnants. She sewed threse little peices together all day long, then made little quilts for dogs. Another patent gave me the honor of choosing some costume jewlery, she insisted, when I tried to refuse, she insisted I pick some out for my dtr, so I did, but it definitely was not worth $25 :) . Another pt gave me a kitchen towel that she crocheted a portion on, so that you could button it onto a stove handle. I like the homemade things.
One pt tried to give me $40 cash, I explained I couldn't possibly accept it, we agreed I would donate it to Hospice in her name, so I did.
I think the lilac bush is so sweet, and so is the pottery. It was your patient's dying wish, honor her by accepting it. If there is a problem, ask the family to write a note to your sup explianing how their mother wished for you to have it.
This has me wondering. Legally, what if a pt decided to leave you a large sum of money in a will, would that be OK to accept if they put it in their will? I wonder (Not like it will ever happen to me!)
Gompers, BSN, RN
I agree with everyone above. I think most places have the $25 rule as well. But in my experience, it's usually more of a sentimental thing. I've gotten lots of teddy bears and thing like that. I'm in the NICU, and sometimes if I get particularly close to the family, they'll give me a framed photo of the baby or something like that.
I wonder if there are rules to giving presents to your pateints? If I take care of a baby for months and months, I'll usually get him or her a present upon discharge - like some baby clothes or a Fisher Price thing. Most of my coworkers do the same thing...
Our company policy is not to accept any gifts, but if the circumstances are such that you just cannot turn down an offering, we are to call into our co-ordinator with all the details and then this info is put in our HR file. Then if sometime down the road a family member accuses the nurse of theft, all the info about the gift etc. has been documented. Now if the gift offered was money or something of value, the nurse would be expected to gently but firmly refuse. The last gift I was given was a used puppy nap sack for my new chihuahua ! And it is duly noted in my HR file.
Gompers, that is so sweet of you.
I did send the lady who made the dog blankets, and her husband a dozen white roses on the 66th, yes 66th, wedding anniversary. They loved it. I have made or bought little birthday cakes for patients, if they weren't diabetic, for birthdays. A few times I have brought a bag or two of groceries, one lady I did this for was going to have to give up her beloved cat since she couldn't afford to feed them both.
You just reminded me, I have to send a birthday card!
Have you been busy or am I missing your posts? I have not seen your posts for a while.
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