Nursing Boundaries...can I go feed my patients cats?

  1. Not finding much information...actually any. I have discussed with case managers and received advice against this..

    My patient gave myself and another nurse permission to go into his unlocked home to check on his cats, he has no one its just him and his cats and he will be hospitalized for at least another 6-8 days. Is this against the rules? Mind you I called APS for my patient as he is neglecting himself/hoarding etc. so he will be upset when they do come and he will automatically think it was me that called since he warned me about his home before going. I really want to help these animals and thought we could go out with animal control. Its so frustrating on what we cant do for our patients. I know it's crossing the line, but I am such an animal lover and knowing these cats will be w/o food for a week is heartbreaking. Sure there's so many hungry animals but these cats I KNOW about. How much trouble could I get in really?

    Any advice?
    Last edit by srg4784 on May 31, '12 : Reason: adding question
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    About srg4784

    Joined: Jun '06; Posts: 123; Likes: 4


  3. by   orthonurse55
    I am a cat lover! But... there is no way in the world I would go into a patient's home while they are not there. Don't put yourself in that position. Yes, that would be crossing boundaries. It is also putting you in a very bad situation. What if he claims later on that he never gave you permission and all of a sudden there are valuables missing? No, no, no. Very unsafe for you on many levels!
  4. by   srg4784
    I know !!! I hate this situation.......those poor cats. APS stated it could be 1-10 days before someone even comes out to see patient to assess...and animal control only will leave notes on the door. I know they will die w/o food and water. I just dont know what to do other than him calling animal control himself, and even then the probably cannot go into his home.
  5. by   Altra
    Many things wrong with this. Please don't put yourself, your patient, or your employer in this inappropriate situation.
  6. by   srg4784
    I hate this so much!!!!!! innocent animals having to starve/die because of stupidity!!
  7. by   srg4784
    and I dont even like cats!!
  8. by   srg4784
    you guys are right though, thanks for helping me see. I wish there was something I COULD there?
  9. by   FORTHELOVEOF!!!!
    I (as in MYSELF) would feed them and worry about the consequences later, if there are any. This is a wreckless statement, I know, but when it comes to something like this, it's a gray area IMO, how are you to know how to handle it? I'm an animal lover just like you and can't stand the thought of starving animals, and to actually know it is happening like you said, would be too much for me to sit back and ignore, even if I end up getting written up. What if it was a friend that was your patient and they wanted you to feed their animals? I don't see anything wrong with it. Now him getting angry about you calling APS is another thing entirely, the only thing I would worry about is him retaliating and saying you stole something, but you would know better than I if he is this type of person. Sorry you have to deal with this, it's a tough decision.
  10. by   martymoose
    isnt there something social work can do?- where i am there are professional pet sitters- even if they came in for maybe a visit or 2.
  11. by   srg4784
    what about with police escort?
  12. by   caliotter3
    If they were outdoor cats, it would be easier to go to the back yard and replenish their food bowls and water. I certainly see little wrong with going onto the property to do that. Creepy to go into the house, but the poor animals didn't ask for this. I can't see them suffering. Past time for this man to get acquainted with his neighbors, both for the sake of his cats, and himself.
  13. by   nurse2033
    This sounds like a complicated situation with a lot of issues going on. Hoarding, pet neglect, self neglect and so on. If you involved animal control (depending on the home) they might call the health department who might declare the home uninhabitable. That could leave the patient homeless and petless. I obviously don't have all the facts but tread very carefully. Your good intentions could lead to unintended consequences.
  14. by   JacksonCare
    If I were u I'd call a pet sitting service to come everyday while the pt is in the hospital. Just about all medium and large cities have pet sitting services plus alot of animal hospitals have workers who do pet sitting as a side job.