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Have you ever been accused of stealing? How did you deal with it?

Nurses   (2,750 Views 16 Comments)
by Jo Dirt Jo Dirt (Member)

Jo Dirt has 9 years experience .

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I've been working with this company doing either home health or private duty for three years. In all that time I have had only one complaint; one time a woman didn't like how I dressed.

Well, the patient I was staying with regularly died recently and I have been sitting with this new patient on the weekends. She is 86 and has alzheimer's/dementia but is still pleasant and fairly easy to stay with. She lives in a two bedroom apartment and her 45 y/o son lives in one bedroom. He is known to be a severe alcoholic (and from what the two other nurses who work the case say he has been known to take other things) and he does not work. The nurses also told me to watch out for him because he constantly tries to bum money. He has not tried to bum money from me yet but I have noticed him drinking quite a bit.

I was there Friday and the landlord came to collect the rent. I heard the patient tell him it had been put on the refridgerator in an envelope but they looked for it recently and no one can find it. So they pulled out the fridge, looked behind it and everything, didn't find it and the landlord left.

I didn't think anything at that point, because I assumed it was a check and well, it was misplaced.

Stupid naieve me.

Last night the oncoming nurse walked me out to my car and said she just wanted me to be aware the family was questioning everyone. I said, well, if they wrote a check it shouldn't be too hard to trace if someone tried to cash it. The nurse said it was $500 cash and the family doesn't write the rent out as a check because all the kids --except that one son-- (she has 8 kids BTW) pool their money together every month to pay her rent. Then the nurse told me that she and the other nurse KNOW who took the money (her son). The nurse said she thought something was strange the last couple of weeks because he hasn't been trying to bum money from her and he makes beer runs at least twice a day. The disgusting thing is, and this is what the nurse told me, is that the mother will look at anyone else to take the blame off her son, she will defend him no matter what. And I'm afraid the family is the same, they don't want to believe he did something like that. In fact, it was brought up to one of the sons that maybe his brother took the money and he said if he did he would have told them he took it.....also, this patient is a chatterbox, and the nurse said she told the patient that the nurses and her son needed to take a lie detector test and whoever failed it would have to go to jail and as soon as she said that you could have heard a pin drop.

Anyway, so there I stood just like a big sitting duck. And it really hurts my feelings. I'm struggling as it is, but I would have never taken that money. But how do you prove it? I can't believe this would be the first time he had done something like this, and isn't it convenient it happens shortly after I start working there?

I just don't know what to say or do. I hate to lose this job but I don't want to be there with the family looking at me with suspicion.

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442 Posts; 9,220 Profile Views

If I were in the same situation, i'd probably try to be relieved of caring for the person (if that's possible, don't know your situation), because it's likely that if he'd do it once to support his habit, you can guarantee he'd do it again.

Some people believe their family (and rightly so) are perfect, and that anything that goes wrong is likely the fault of someone else. I doubt if she's so set in her beliefs about her son that you could change her mind unless of course you had some evidence to prove it.

Same thing for evidence goes with regard to you, innocent until proven guilty. It isn't alot of fun when your accused of things you didn't do.

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traumaRUs has 27 years experience as a MSN, APRN and specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU.

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I too would seriously consider getting out of this situation - with your patient's dementia and her son's alcoholism, this is not the best environment for truth-telling.

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Jo Dirt has 9 years experience.

3,270 Posts; 17,173 Profile Views

Only thing is, private duty jobs are getting extremely scarce around here, with TennCare going down the tubes, and I'm not in any kind of shape to go out looking for a new job (8 months pregnant). I really don't want to lose this job, I can't afford to just leave. If I don't work the bills don't get paid and we don't eat (we're eating poorly as it is).

Feel like I should call the staffing agency and let them know what's going on, but I don't know.

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hollyvk has 25 years experience and specializes in Peds, GI, Home Health, Risk Mgmt.

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You should not have to be dealing with this situation on your own--your employer should be involved. You should notify your supervisor of the situation (who should already be aware of the background history on the family). Your supervisor should be able to work out with you how to handle the situation. The bottom line being that the family needs to be notified that nursing staff cannot be drawn into the family's problems with the live-in son and that a better system needs to be set up for handling the patient's finances.

HollyVK, RN, BSN, JD

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Jo Dirt has 9 years experience.

3,270 Posts; 17,173 Profile Views

The bottom line being that the family needs to be notified that nursing staff cannot be drawn into the family's problems with the live-in son and that a better system needs to be set up for handling the patient's finances.

HollyVK, RN, BSN, JD

Boy does it ever. This is what I told the nurse last night. I found it hard to believe they would leave $500 cash laying around in the house like that. And what I want to know is, has this been a regular practice? Because if they do this all the time I can't believe this would be the first time money would have come up missing.

Mom, I know is a fool for her children and they can do no wrong, but why would the siblings not be more aware that they have a family member who does not work and has an alcohol/drug habit to feed?

Yes, I have a lot of questions of my own to ask.

I haven't been directly accused of anything (yet) but who else will they look to, especially when they seem to be in denial about their own family member? The fat ugly new nurse who wears raddy clothes that are so old they're falling apart.

I actually worked about a month on this case when it first opened in Jan. '06. I remember the patient telling me at the time, that the agency wouldn't allow the nurses in the home with her son living there so he had to leave, and it was poor Andy this, and poor Andy that. But poor Andy has somehow weasled his way back into the house. I also know that a nurse was asked to not come back to this case by the patient after the nurse had called the police on the son because he was drunk and cursing at his mother. If he was beating her with a tire iron she would still be going on and on about poor little Andy...

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Daytonite has 40 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in med/surg, telemetry, IV therapy, mgmt.

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It's up to them to prove who did what. Not for any of you nurses to prove you didn't do this. I was thinking about all those episodes of Judge Judy that I watch. If the family or the patient decided to report this to the police, the police would probably question everyone, shrug their shoulders and say there's nothing they can do. The police department isn't going to demand lie detector tests and I doubt the family will if they're poor to begin with. It was just an intimidation tactic. They can't force anyone to take any kind of test. I would just go about doing my job and let the family work this out. Don't talk about this with them unless they bring the subject up. You can't win against an alcoholic with an enabler mother. They know more about manipulation than you or I could put together between the two of us.

What kind of people in this day and age pay their rent in cash?

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NRSKarenRN has 40 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion.

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Any incident like this needs to be reported PRONTO to the nursing supervisor and documented on an incident report. Write down info as you told us using non judgemental terms and turn in with report.

Social Service visit might also be arranged to help family with handling of patient's finances ---leaves nursing OUT of picture.

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biker nurse specializes in LTC , SDC and MDS certified (3.0).

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I agree with Karen!!!! However I would not want off the case it makes you look guilty. I might even call the sheriff to report it missing, let them just take a statement from you. SO it's on record and you didn't do it!!!

GOOD LUCK. Hopefully your record will stand for you innocence!!!!

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6,487 Posts; 21,382 Profile Views

MM, you need to call the agency and let them know what's happening. They have a right to know because it's their agency that is, ultimately, being questioned, and they can also take steps to protect you and the other nurses. You do not have to give up the job, but you can ask to be placed with another pt.

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MM,

I agree with the posters who say report the incident to the agency and then get out of this situation. I do understand just what you are saying, money is tight and you are attempting to do everything possible to hold on until this baby is born. Now, and please do not flame me, have you gotten in touch with DHHR to inquire about help for you and your family? Foodstamps and some help with utilities could be a possibility and a big help if you qualify. At 8 months pregnant you do not need the added stress of this type of situation. Please take care.

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crissrn27 has 8 years experience as a RN and specializes in nursery, L and D.

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MM,

I agree with the posters who say report the incident to the agency and then get out of this situation. I do understand just what you are saying, money is tight and you are attempting to do everything possible to hold on until this baby is born. Now, and please do not flame me, have you gotten in touch with DHHR to inquire about help for you and your family? Foodstamps and some help with utilities could be a possibility and a big help if you qualify. At 8 months pregnant you do not need the added stress of this type of situation. Please take care.

Now, why would we flame you? You are right. These systems are in place for hard working folks like MM, who are having a hard time making ends meet. Good Advice!

As to the situation you are in right now MM, you don't need to be in the middle of this! This guy is not stable and I am worried for you. It doesn't look like he or the family will change anytime soon, and it could turn in to a dangerous situation in an instant. Nevermind the money, I am worried about someone (maybe you) getting hurt at some point. Social services does need to be involved, this guy, who yells at his demented mother, might also hurt her, or someone else. I would suggest you call your agency PDQ.

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