leaving pt with a teen?

Specialties Private Duty


  • Specializes in med-surg, teaching, cardiac, priv. duty.

Hi PD nurses! Was hoping an experienced PD nurse could just verify for me this is appropriate. Well, more that it is safe for my nursing license. I've been doing PD over 4 years now, but never had this situation before. Some things that are normal for PD would not be normal in other settings (so I have learned over the last several years.) My agency told me it was just fine and the situation was kosher. But wanted an opinion or two.

Anyways...Is it okay to leave the pt in care of the older sibling that is 16 yrs old? Usually the nurse would be at the house until parent got home from work, but for various reasons they want to change this for 2 days of the week, and the nurse will leave the pt in care of the older sibling these 2 days. It is the parents request, so parent (and teen) is okay with it since it was their idea. The sibling would be with pt for about 3 hours until parent got home. Additional info: The 16 yr old sibling is very mature and trustworthy. The pt is long-term permanently disabled and very stable despite the disabilities. The older sibling knows how to give care to the pt. So, my point is that I feel comfortable with it on a personal level in that the 16 yr old is trustworthy and knows the care basics. BUT what about otherwise? What if something went wrong after I left?? Could I be sued becasue I left the pt with a 16 yr old?? My agency says that once I sign out my responsibility ends. But just hoped for verification.... Has anyone else ever left a pt in care of a teenager?? THANKS.


38,333 Posts

I would also feel uncomfortable with this. If the agency is watching its p's and q's, it would have a signed release from the family regarding this. You might ask if they obtained one. If the sibling were 18 it would be a different matter. But underage? Iffy.

Lorie P.

754 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surge, Private Duty Peds.

doesn't sound like a wise thing to do..if the sibling was 18 ( adult) i would feel better about it. did the agency have the parents sign a release form so that you wouldn't be held responsible?

sure the agency says once you sign out no problem, but leaving a disabled pt in the care of an under aged minor is not what a "prudent nurse" would do...

just make sure your hind end is covered!!


308 Posts

Specializes in med-surg, teaching, cardiac, priv. duty.

Thanks for your opinions! I called the agency again, and they are now going to add it to the care plan, as well as have the parent sign a special form saying it is okay for the pt to be left with the 16 yr old sibling. So now I feel better. And I'm glad I called too, or else they may not have put this in writing. Would have just been a verbal understanding.

It is soooooo easy to lose objectivity in these private duty cases. As you likely know, I am the "queen" of professional boundaries as I have ranted and raved about the importance of professionalism and not getting sucked into family dynamics in various threads! Yet even I (haha!) was clearly not seeing this situation objectively at first! I know the family well, trust the sibling, was sympathetic about some family issues, and at first had no concern about it. Losing objectivity can just sneak up on you in these cases!

Thanks again!!!


472 Posts

Glad that you covered all of your bases........... What a toughie!!!!!!!!!! Would it be going overboard to check with the board of nursing?? Not that it would, but what if something happend... and your notes say left in the care of.......

and this person is a minor??? Would it be okay?? And furthermore, what are you supposed to do?? Stay the extra 3 hours until the parents come home?? Havn't had this situation, but it seems that you have it all under control...

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