Accused by a patient's family member of not assessing - page 2

So today I get a phone call from my manager about some complaints a patient's family member made against me to Patient Relations. The granddaughter of the patient accused me of not performing an... Read More

  1. by   GadgetRN71
    And this is why I will never work the floors. I give you guys all the credit because you deal with idiots and d- bags on a daily basis..
  2. by   aileenve
    Sorry to hear you're in this situation, the grand-daughter sounds passive-agressive and might not even be a nurse; she sounds like she doesn't have nothing to do in life and gets enjoyment out of hurting others; what you need to do is write down your shift from the time you came on the unit until the end with particular emphasis on your care of this patient, there may be nothing to her complaint....good luck
  3. by   babyNP.
    Yikes, what a situation to be in. I once had a parent accuse me of not washing my hands and discussed it with the charge nurse on the shift after me. Luckily this charge nurse knew me very well. She asked the parent, "Well, she might have washed her hands before she went into the room. Did you ask her if she did?" "No." let me touch your baby thinking I didn't wash my hands? Fer serious??

    In any case, it might be something to go back and talk it through with that person who made the complaints. I very nicely and diplomatically talked with her and let her know that she can ask me or any other health care team member if we've washed our hands, that we as nurses want her to feel confident in our care of her child. It worked! She was a little embarrassed, but I reassured her that there is nothing wrong with wanting to ensure the best care for her child.
  4. by   StudentNurse2011
    Ugh, RC, I feel for you. This is one of the (many) reasons I can't wait to finish my year of med-surg and get back to the procedure room.

    Here's what our hospital does: We have rounding sheets that go in every patient room. During day shift, there's a place to time, initial, and note the reason for pt. contact on an hourly basis. It looks something like this: SN 0745 VS. Either the RN or the PCT can sign it, depending on who was in the room. Frequently, there are blocks signed both by the PCT and myself. It's a total PITA because it does take a little time every time you walk in the room, but you can prove that the patient was indeed cared for every hour. It might be toileting, pain control, assessment, meds, repositioning, pt. sleeping, to cath lab, or whatever, but somebody was in that room every hour. At night, instead of every hour, it's every two hours.

    Maybe it would be a good idea for you to suggest something like that to your nurse manager. It's a proactive solution that you can offer her. Of course, as somebody else also mentioned, your charting already covers know....but it never hurts to be able to show the family a piece of paper that everybody has signed - every hour - proving that we were in the room. Our NM knows that we're in and out of the rooms all the time, but it's nice to have proof in writing. The fact that the paper hangs in the room a full 24 hours for the family to see doesn't hurt either.

    One more thing - please allow me to offer my sincere appreciation for all of you who spend your careers in bedside nursing. I couldn't do it. I simply don't have the personality or patience for it. I am in AWE of all of you who work every day in a basically thankless environment in which the patients and families consider you little more than waitresses who pass meds - and always with a smile on your faces. I saw a quote today from a nursing-based Facebook page that said, "Save one life and you're a hero. Save a hundred lives, and you're a nurse."
  5. by   leslie :-D
    i seriously feel for you.
    address all complaints in writing and have it added to your folder.

    and it's very true, you just can't document enough.
    i know that nurses get criticized for over-documenting, but it's situations such as this, that vindicates why we do what we do.
    it's all about cya - sadly.

    moving onward...

  6. by   crazygirlRN9903
    I have just got into a similar situation with some family members of a pt who are retired nurses or current nurses. Be wary though. Being nurses is such a wide variety. I am a CVICU RN in an inner city hospital. There are many nurses who are at varrying levels. Some are community hospital nurses and some home health, ect. But they like to think they know and reverse words you said.

    I had had a post op pt that had a major complication. A 60 something year old that was an ASD repair, 1 vessel CABG, and a MAZE procedure. They are normally extubated and up to a chair within 12 hours. The pt unfortunately suffered a major complication of a "slipped stitch". The pt was opened up at bedside and survived. The pt was able to make it through another surgery and back up. After a day the pt experienced multiple complications from this episode. I would go through explaining things to the family and they would come back and say it back words. They asked if the pt was going to be normal and like their old self. I said I don't know if the pt will be the person you know. It's not something I can tell you. They also kept saying that I told them the pt was brain dead?? I have no idea where they even got this from. Those words never came out if my mouth. They asked about injury. I explained the could have some sort of anoxic injury, but we will not know until we can wake the pt up off sedation and they are too unstable enough There were multiple times the significant other stood in the hallway and said "all from stupid slipped stitch" and "we came here for the expertise" and then would sigh and kinda giggle and roll their eyes.
    i cannot begin to imagine what the family is going through. And they are angry and I understand that. The problem came in when the surgeons would tell the family "the pt doing great and getting better! The pt is getting more stable very day!" Mind you I had over 14 Iv gtts, high vent settings, nitric, arctic sun, and at least one BP drop to 40/20s and one desat to 30s every shift. Unable to turn for over 3 days.
    But why take it out on the nurse that has busted their BUTT for 5 nights keeping the pt alive. The dr at night would be by my side saying exactly the same things I said. Also I had a RN next to me that heard what I said to some of the things. And knows I didn't not say what they are accusing me of. The family would say thank you for all the work and seemed grateful and nice. I was shocked and appalled and upset that I came into work to find a note from my manager saying I could no longer take care of this pt and they officially wrote a letter of complaint about me and my "negativity." When she told me a couple if things they stated I said it was completely backwards of what I said. They also complained to the surgeon about me. Now if your mad at the surgeon about the complication and other things going on, then write a letter to him. Do not pick on the nurse because they are easier to go after!
  7. by   ProgressiveActivist
    When some visitor claims to be a nurse it means nurses aide. If some visitor claims to be an ICU nurse it means they are looking to start trouble. An ICU nurse would never need to have every little detail explained.

    I would smile and so hello to each and every shifty family member and make them squirm.

    I would refer all of their questions to the medical staff, neuro, cards , surgeon.

    Sounds like they are trying to build a case against the hospital and the staff . I would be so glad to be on the list of people fired by that family.
    Last edit by ProgressiveActivist on Jun 19, '14
  8. by   jadelpn
    "We take patient privacy here so seriously, and rightfully so, that I took advantage of when the grandaughter left the room to do my assessment privately. To discuss pain control privately. This is an alert and oriented patient."

    You do not need to put Gram's needs on blast for the grandaughter. Make sure that you do document "family member sleeping at bedside". Make sure you document speaking about IS use (and again, this is a private conversation.

    Your manager needs to expect that patient assessments should be done without visitors/family members present. If gram is spry enough to get a knee replacement (which is an elective surgery) I am sure she is spry enough to make her needs known--without the grandaughters assistance.

    If the grandaughter has issue with pain control, she can attempt to speak with the MD. If she has issue with lung function, RT. Movement, PT. That is, if gram has signed a release that they can talk to her......

    Sorry this happend to you, and that you did not receive any support. Shame on your manager. Again, another "customer" as opposed to "patient" and the visitor's need as opposed to the patients.

    Perhaps the grandaughter would like to take her gram home, and care for her there however she sees fit.....
  9. by   calivianya
    We are only required to do skin, falls, and IV documentation every two hours, but I always chart whether the family member is at the bedside. I don't trust those sneaky family members...
  10. by   toomuchbaloney
    If the letter of complaint is going into your employee file you should ask to have your responses to the specific complaints also included in the file.

    If your manager is worth anything he/she will not punish you for this.