Sexual harrassment and erection situations

  1. I'm an LNA. I recently started work at an apartment complex for handicapped people. My main client is a young guy in a wheelchair with average (normal) cognition. I was warned prior to working with him that he asks for 'favors' during showers. My first time showering him alone was a few days ago. He said "don't be afraid to touch it" when I was washing his genitalia. I just ignored this and washed him like I would anyone. He then wanted me to inspect a small mark on his scrotum. He said it was from a vasectomy. He said he wanted me to inspect it. It was just a tiny purple mark. He asked me to inspect it further. I told him I'm not a nurse- just an LNA but would leave a note for his nurse if he wanted. He said no thanks. During the washing I tried not to notice he was semi erect. I have to go back to take care of this client again. Any suggestions on how to handle this? My boss already knows he tries to initiate sexual favors and told me that one LNA just walked out on him but the rest just ignore his remarks and do what they have to do. He was threatened with getting kicked out of the place he lives over issues like this. From what I understand he (the client) just doesn't care about his life. He has a terminal illness.
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    About Lilymoonstorm

    Joined: Jul '11; Posts: 15; Likes: 1


  3. by   quiltynurse56
    Ignore his remarks and do what you have to do the way you would any other patient.
  4. by   Wuzzie
    Quote from Lilymoonstorm
    My main client is a young guy in a wheelchair with average (normal) cognition. I was warned prior to working with him that he asks for 'favors' during showers. My first time showering him alone was a few days ago. He said "don't be afraid to touch it" when I was washing his genitalia.
    What a jerk! I would be inclined to answer "I'm not afraid to touch it I'm just trying to find it" but that would get me fired so...

    My only advice is to ignore him and get the business done. He will eventually get bored with the game. In the meantime remain brutally professional with him so he knows you mean business and business only.
  5. by   JKL33
    Well, here I go again, declaring this is yet another thing I would say no to.

    This individual is of normal cognition and knows exactly what he is doing. Therefore this behavior is abusive. There is absolutely no reason that this sort of treatment must be tolerated in this workspace any more than in any other. I'm sorry he might feel bad about his life circumstances, but I'm guessing so do a lot of other people who end up acting out sexually. So what.

    By the way, I'm not saying this man doesn't deserve care...this has nothing to do with that. It sounds like this is a well-known problem and deserved a solution before now. For starters, they should've already been sending two people to his home for showers/personal care - for everyone's protection (if they want his business so badly)! No, it is not as desirable financially, but what they are doing instead is making money by allowing people to feel they must (or probably should) put up with this. That's even more sickening than the guy's behavior.

    I'm sorry, I feel very strongly that no individual in any position or capacity should have to tolerate this from someone who is cognizant of his actions.
  6. by   JKL33
    PS - I'm fairly sure this employer could find themselves in legal trouble with regard to this. Their tolerance of and/or failure to take action on this very issue is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and EEOC-related obligations.
  7. by   Have Nurse
    Wow. That's a challenge to be sure. Most caregivers would refuse to take care of someone that makes them that uncomfortable. But, you need to ask yourself some things:

    Can this fellow manage alone? Obviously not.

    Why is he acting this way? While you are not a psyche nurse, you can understand that there is a reason for every kind of behavior. If he is terminal, there is darn little he still has control over.

    That being said, he may feel helpless on the inside, and his masculinity is also being affected. He may wonder if he is still desirable. An honest and o.k. question for him to ask to himself, if that is the case. And those needs don't disappear with a terminal illness necessarily.

    That does not excuse his behavior, but it may help you to understand it.

    First, if you are able, you need to set limits and it's ok to do that, and chart those limits as well, and have the nurse put it on the Care Plan.

    If he is able to handle a washcloth, he can clean that area himself. If he wants you to inspect the area, you can ask him to show you himself, without you touching that area at all. If he continues, you can tell him that due to the suggestive nature of his conversation, you are compelled not to return and need to report it then do so. Document, document document.

    If he gets upset, let him. But stay calm, direct and respectful.

    He may get a notice from your company informing him that in __days your company will no longer be providing services.

    Keep your office informed!! Just some suggestions.....
  8. by   trytounderstand
    First of all if the patient is able to be showered, isn't he able to use his own hands for washing his genitalia. If he has habit of this behavior shouldn't you have a chaperone with you for your protection as well as his? No one should have to put up sexual harassment which this is. Why are you showering him in an apartment alone?

    Just as I as patient expect a healthcare giver to treat me with respect, I should be expected to treat them with the same respect. I do not expect a healthcare giver to make inappropriate comments or to give the impression that they think it is cute or funny when they are giving me personal care.

    Of course document everything. Tell your supervisor and ask for a coworker to be with you when you have to care for this person.
  9. by   wondern
    Yes, is he paralyzed?
  10. by   Persephone Paige
    I think I would accidentally slip and try and keep myself from falling by using the lever for the shower temp. Then, my ailing joints would require me told hold onto the lever in the cold position for a while as I slowly made it to my feet. And my employer would be so happy I didn't hurt myself.