I am struggling with patient families lately. - page 2

I am fed up with patient families treating the hospital like a family reunion site. I am tired of the family members that insist on staying the night, why? In some cases I get it. But when your... Read More

  1. by   DoeRN
    Quote from ALMERCHANT
    Whenever a family member complains to the administration, the administration invariably sides with the family member, no matter what the issue is. I found a male visitor laying in bed with my female patient in a compromising pose. I politely corrected them. To make a long story short, I was written up.
    You were written up because you caught a patient in a "compromising position" or having sex in the hospital. They complained because you interrupted them having sex and you got in trouble? Did the patient warn you that she was going to be having sex and not disturb her?

    I can't wait to leave this field. As a matter of fact I'm going to apply for school over the weekend. I wanted to start in March/April for an online program. I need to do it ASAP. Sorry you were written up over some BS.
  2. by   jennilynn
    We had a lady stalking the desk the other night because she wanted fresh coffee at 3am. We had 4 nurses, 2 CIWA, new admissions, bed alarms, etc. sorry sister, your coffee is gonna have to wait! She was offended because we didn't drop everything for her.
    Or when the pt is NPO for whatever reason, visitors request a drink, you tell them the pt is NPO, they reply that it's for themself. Then get ticked off when they are directed to the nearest vending machine.
    Or when family "knows better" than we do. Example: nana is NPO for dysphasia, which is absolutely tearing the daughter up. So she has another family member bring in KFC and sneak nana bites. Well, guess who is flipping crap when nana chokes?
    Or the granddaughter that wants times written on the board for pain meds and wants nana to be sedated for sleep, then proceeds to wake her up every 3 hours to ask her if she needs pain meds. If she's resting comfortably, she's ok. Let ME do my job.
    I do believe that visitors are a therapeutic part of recovery; however, in most cases, it is not necessary to camp out in the room, try to outwit the nurses, block access to the pt with the cot. And for god's sake, don't sleep in the bed with the pt!
    I wish that when the visiting hours are over announcement plays, people would simply abide by it.
    I love my job, but lately it seems that it is more about keeping the visitors comfortable and appeased.
  3. by   Aongroup1990
    i understand u
  4. by   PalmHarborMom
    There have been times that I have had to stay with my husband, mostly when he was in ICU. I went out of my way to make sure that I stayed out of everyones way. Heck, when he needed emergency dialysis, they did it in his room and there was no where for me to even stand with all the equipment in the room. I gladly stood outside. Although the nurses appeased me, they did think I needed to go home. But considering that he was in Acute Renal Failure, had a non-STEMI, lungs filling with fluid and severe edema.... I was staying. And he was so out of it that he could not give consent for anything. I was the family member though that would change the sheets, clean him up if needed, and keep him calm. From what I heard, he was quite the turd when I wasn't there to explain that he needed everything that was being done. Once his kidneys started working again, I did not need to stay throughout the night because he was completely alert & oriented. One thing that the nurses did that was great was just giving me a quick run down of where I would not be in the way and also alerted me to the fact that it could change at any time because of how serious his condition was.

    I know that there will always be visitors that are less than desirable. I have seen them in the hospital... and it is ridiculous! Those visitors should be reminded of the reason that the patient is there... Nurses are there for the patient.
  5. by   SCSTxRN
    I realize that the hospital has changed a lot in the last 16 years, but the reason that I never leave a family member alone can be summed up in a few short experiences.

    1996: My sister had a hysterectomy. She had pain, not at her incision site but from a full bladder. Something I still can't explain was wrong with her catheter, the nurse would come in and strip it, she would empty at least 1000 cc of urine, and she would feel better for some time until it hurt again. The third time, the nurse said, "I really don't have time to do this every time you call." My sister apologized. I told the nurse, "Show me how to do it and you won't have to come in again." She did, and we didn't see her again until shift change about five hours later.

    1998: Mom in the hospital with pneumonia. No real benefit to me being there that time other than the fact that her 02 sats stayed >90 when I slept there and <85 within 3 minutes of me walking out of the room.

    2000: My dad had open heart surgery and was so constipated he couldn't stand it. No prune juice anywhere in the hospital, per the nurse. I went to go buy him some. On the way back in, stopped at the refreshment station for some jello to go with it. No less than 36 little juice containers of prune in the fridge, all cold.

    2002: Had my gallbladder out. Had those nifty sequential compression cuffs to prevent blood clots. Pushed the button to go to the bathroom. Told the lady who answered I needed to go to the bathroom. Waited another 10 minutes. Had the cuffs off, went to the bathroom, and was in the process of putting them back on when someone finally came to untie me, then chastised me for going to the bathroom by myself. A total of 45 minutes had passed since I buzzed - they would have needed to change the bed by then.

    So it's not because I think you don't do your job - it's because in my own experience, a family member can do some of the same things a CNA can, and help keep their family member comfortable/safe without pulling the nurse away from someone who is sicker or in more need.
    Last edit by SCSTxRN on Dec 28, '12 : Reason: ETA - I was a teacher for this, only a nurse the last few years.
  6. by   rn2be73
    i'm not even a nurse yet and i'm already thinking of leaving healthcare completely!!! Sick of families that think that their loved one is the ONLY patient in the hospital and i had better jump when they need anything! also sick of management that plays favorites among the her employees! I am 39 and the other techs are all in their 20's...just because they are constantly running here and there the nurses and nurse manager have decided that i am the lazy one.... not taking into consideration that my patients have all been offered a bath and if they wanted one have had, the rooms are clean, trash empty, laundry empty and meal trays picked up, and patients are turned q2 and changed when needed. I believe in gathering everything you need before going into a room not running up and down the hall and in and out of the room 14 times because you forgot something...so yes i have a few minutes more to sit down and chart or ....yikes even go to the bathroom!! Sorry for the vent just very very disgusted with healthcare right now!!
  7. by   pronurse45
    Dealing with family would really be tough at times (many times, they're harder to deal with than the actual patient), but we don't have a choice because they come together with our client...just more patience=)
  8. by   martymoose
    Quote from cienurse
    Whatever happened to the good old days of "visiting hours?"
    Because customer service(????) allows people to do whatever they want when ever they want. I put the question marks after CS because even hotels and restaurants and other"service industries" don't allow themselves to be run over like hospitals and healthcare do.

    I totally enjoy stepping on people's feet cause they wont get the hint to move out of the way so i can get to the pt's monitor.I hope they are happy that my big fat chest is in their face because they will not move!!! Seriously, I think the families make the whole thing a social event , and completely forget why the pt is even there.
  9. by   FLArn
    @rn2b73- When I worked in long term care (AKA nursing homes) I loved CNAs like you. I never had to ask for what I needed more than once and my patients were always clean and dry. Sorry you aren't appreciated at your hospital. I bet the better SNFs in your area would fight to have you. and your patients would love you too!
  10. by   chicagonurse89
    Families being around the patient should not give any problem to us healthcare providers unless they are already interfering with the way we care for our patients!
  11. by   VivaLasViejas
    There's been more than one time that I've absolutely adored a resident, but would've given my left arm to evict the family! I've got several of them in my assisted-living community, and I wonder sometimes how such awesome people could have raised such whiny, demanding, arrogant, thoughtless, nasty, snooty, selfish, petulant children. Of course, I do everything I can to keep interactions with these characters to a minimum, which is difficult (but not impossible) for someone in my position. But thankfully I have a boss who runs interference for me with the one family member that I really can't deal with.

    One time about a year ago, this woman---for some reason I'll probably never know---outright lied, claiming that I'd been "mean" to her father and was prejudiced against him because he didn't like my son, who works there as a CNA. She also demanded that I be fired and said she would report me to the BON. Well, she was right in that I didn't like the man---he is a bitter, nasty old bigot, and he's called my son (who is gay) a few names that would make a sailor blush---but never in a million years would I have said or done anything to him that was less than professional. I don't operate that way, and to be falsely accused of it was more than I could take.

    It didn't help any that I was in the middle of a horrid manic reaction to a medication I was taking at the time. When I heard about this, I flew into an instant rage---stomped down the hall, slammed doors, ran into the med room and proceeded to yell and scream at the top of my lungs. I was crazy angry, and for a few moments I didn't care who knew it. My med aides were flabbergasted---they'd never seen me even moderately annoyed before, and suddenly here I was, completely out of control. Other than that, all I remember about this episode was telling my boss to keep that woman away from me or there'd be hell to pay.

    Well, anyone else probably would've fired me, and with good cause; but luckily he knew where my anger was really coming from, and he's been the go-to person for this daughter ever since. She and I occasionally bump into each other in the hallway and exchange awkward pleasantries, but that's about it.......we have no respect or liking for one another, and if she needs to harangue anyone about her father's care, it's "Frank" who handles it.

    But out of 17 years in health care, this particular family member is the only one I've ever NOT been able to work with. Not a bad percentage at all. And of course, that was the only time I've ever pitched a fit in the med room.
  12. by   samadams8
    I think there does need to be a limit. One family member at bedside overnight should suffice, except in rare instances. If they are truly interfering with the pt tx and plan of care, they need to be warned or go.

    If they aren't, set appropriate limits, be as supportive as possible, do your job well, and don't take anything personally.

    Most family members are not there to spy on you or to make your life difficult. Get used to working in a fishbowl. If you work in many critical care settings, you work in a fishbowl. If you work with peds, you will be watched. If not by families, then by other nurses, RTs, docs, you name it. It goes with the territory.

    Be careful and confident, and get over it. The pt and family issues are not about us and our comfort level. It's about them. I've let parents look at their child's flow sheets and ask questions. Part of moving through the stages to expert level is in building humble confidence. If they aren't interfering with care, it really shouldn't bother you. Unless they are blocking treatment or are outside of appropriate limits, it's your problem, not theirs. So unless you have left out some important information, well, sorry. Sounds like the problem is with you. Hopefully you'll take my two cents as constructive and in the positive manner in which it was given. Sorry about any errors. I am typing on iPad screen.
    Last edit by samadams8 on Dec 29, '12
  13. by   AngelfireRN
    I deal with these idiots every day...even away from the bedside. I can tell you at a glance who are going to be my PITAs for the day, and it's those patients who come in with either Mommy or Sissy or a random friend in tow who have no business being there. Mommy will try to tell me that her precious dumpling needs more pain medicine or nerve medicine while Dumpling sits silently. Mommy will attempt to prove her case by telling me that she's had to supplement Dumpling's regime with her own nerve medicine. The dumpling in question is usually in better shape than I and has no real need of Mommy. This usually occurs after Doc refusing to up Dumpling's dose a few times.
    Sissy is usually the same scenario... she's doing all the talking while my patient sits there. Sissy knows it all.
    And friend is either angling to rat someone out and get them dismissed from the clinic (pain management practice) or my patient has brought friend along with the erroneous assumption that I won't say no to their face when they try to wheedle and beg an appointment. We aren't accepting new patients and the waiting list is closed.
    Oh, and never forget the ones that try to run right over your head when you don't give them the answer they want.... they'll get another answer and act all smug. At least until the other party discovers that they're splitting staff.
    Stopping now before I need a blood pressure pill.