LTC and SNF nurses and CNAs: Have you ever been attacked by a resident/patient?

Specialties Geriatric


A few questions for nurses and nursing staff in Long-Term Care settings (other fields, please see below):

1. Have you ever been attacked, physically or verbally by a patient or other non-nursing person (visitor, family member) on the job? Please describe the incident if you can.

2. Did your supervisor or DON offer you support or were you reprimanded?

3. What was the outcome? Was the patient given a psych consult? Any new orders written? Patient discharged or taken to ER for observation of increased altered mental status? Do you still take care of this patient? Did you sustain permanent and/or severe injury (and yes, if you suffered some post-traumatic stress, please let us know)?

Side note: Ok, I know there was a poll not long ago about nurses and nursing staff being assaulted or attacked at work, but can't find that thread for the life of me. If anyone knows where it is, please reply with a link. I really wanted to show a non-nursing person (which would be EVERYONE I don't work with!) how high that percentage of "yes" was. I believe it was over 90% of us that responded yes to having been assaulted in some manner at work, either by a patient or other party. As you all know, non-nurses have a very hard time understanding or believing exactly what we go through and the terrible things that we often consider "just part of the job". I have a hard time believing it myself. Maybe that shock is what keeps us there? Maybe learning that it happens (too often!) and is highly likely to happen dulls us and we forget how ridiculous it is that we nurses tolerate what would not be tolerated in any other job? Yes, we expect some of what happens, but is there not a line to be drawn stating "No more!" that we can sign? Even though we may expect certain behaviors and try our best to prevent them, it doesn't always work. When it does happen, why are we often blamed for the actions of confused, angry, demented, or under-the-influence patients? (these are musings, not the specific questions I'm asking, but feel free to comment or vent with me). :D

My question is directed in particular to the nurses and nursing staff at long-term care facilities, skilled nursing facilities, and those in direct patient care with confused and angry patients or residents. I am basically trying to get a picture of how high the percentage of attacks are in LTC/SNF (yes, because I work in that field, and yes, because I've been attacked and seen others attacked and have never seen management offer help or support of any kind, unfortunately). Other fields, please feel free to share your horror stories...I know psych and ER have a high percentage rate for getting smacked, spit on, kicked, punched, and so forth.:sstrs:

Yes, as a CNA in a long-term care facility, I was assaulted more than once, including being bitten. My supervisor was there for the bite and was very supportive of me. I've also been physically and verbally assaulted in group homes and day programs for adults with developmental disabilities. People do not believe me when I tell them stories about my work.

Specializes in LTC.

I worked in a senior psych facility where a new admit literally beat the living hell out of a nurse and 2 CNA's. The attack was so severe that they had to call the police to come drag this man out of the building and off to inpatient psych. Fortunately, I was off that day as it was on my floor and would have been me. The staff was sent to the hospital to be checked out. No major injuries other than a couple of black eyes, busted lips, and various bruises. Still, bad enough. You just never know what's going to happen when you clock in. Anymore, it seems anything goes. In the 6 years I've been a nurse, I've seen an increase in the hostility of res families toward nursing home staff. I've no doubt that one day I'll be witness to or a victim of a family member attack. Seems since the advent of the internet, everyone thinks they're a *******' MD and know better than us what needs to happen and will stop at nothing to have what they've read/heard implemented. And of course, it must be implemented NOW. /end rant. :)

How is it LEGAL for a AOx3 pt to physically abuse any staff member of the facility

Specializes in Gerontology, Med surg, Home Health.
How is it LEGAL for a AOx3 pt to physically abuse any staff member of the facility

It's NOT legal nor should it be tolerated.

Specializes in Transitional Nursing.

Yep, I've been put in a headlock, bitten, slapped, spit on, called names etc. Always from demented patients who didn't know waht they were doing. I'd take one of them any day of the week over an alert and oriented verbal abuser.

Specializes in long trm care.

Honestly some of these letters made me cry,I have been through all of this but since nursing homes have become hospitals it has only gotten worse. I recently have gotten a verbal attack that threatened my livelihood and I also felt physically afraid for my safety. It actually totally shocked me so much I could not speak (which was a good thing because I would have gotten fired). Over something as the nurse I had nothing to do with. Of course management does nothing, I left that day and will never return. Love to all my fellow LTC workers.

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