Dear Nurse Beth,
Many times on a hospital floor patients with severe dementia are bed jumpers. When they are unsteady on their feet they pose a danger to themselves and a liability to the nurse caring for them. They need a sitter to watch them.
Often times before this pt. can be transferred to a SNF they must demonstrate the ability to be by themselves for a period of 24 hours before the SNF will accept them. You cannot wave a magic wand and reverse dementia....the patient is not going to suddenly change for the better, yet, hospital managements will obligate a nurse to babysit these patients for 24 hours without the aid of a sitter.
This places the nurse between a rock and a hard place. If the patient falls and sustains a serious injury the fault will wind up with the nurse almost without fail. If the nurse has five other patients to care for how can they be there at a moments notice to stop the patient from falling if they bed jump?
Regardless of all the virtues of coulda, shoulda, and woulda some of you nurses are just dying to expound in rebuttal to this subject matter; I feel you have missed the point entirely. It is WRONG to ever put a nurse in this position. It's
not even worthy of debate. It would be like arguing over the existence of owls....it goes way beyond a matter of opinion.
Beth, are there any laws on the books to protect we nurses from this type of exploitation?
Dear Needs Sitter,
A sitter is by definition dedicated to one patient, and doesn't have other patients. Typically a sitter is a non-licensed staff member, who is assigned to sit with a patient in a private room or sometimes sit with two patients in a semi-private.
What you describe- obligating a nurse who has a patient load of six patients to keep a constant eye on one patient- is impossible and does not provide for their safety. Is it possible to call in a family member and does your facility have remote video viewing?
No wonder you are frustrated and concerned. If your hospital is not concerned about reducing falls and falls with injury, is this a good place for you to work?
Providing sitters is not regulated except in some states where the patient is suicidal. Unfortunately nurse-patient ratios on hospital floors are not regulated except in California.
Read Safe Staffing
to learn more about nurse-patient ratios.
Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!
This was my life when I worked neuro and ortho. It is an insane requirement from nursing homes/SNFs. One way we maneuvered around it was to cluster those patients right next to each other near the nurse's station, bed alarms on, and our PCA sat right outside the doors. So they essentially had a sitter, but not technically. It still sucked because we lost our only assistant to this nonsense on a regular basis.
Video monitoring doesn't work as you need to be able to get into that room within a split second. With those IV cords and SCDs they hit the floor instantly.
Last edit by FloridaBeagle on Jul 7