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Snide Comments From Family Members

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych.

How do you all deal with snide, sarcastic comments made by family members?

If I can, I let them slide. If they are directed toward me, I will firmly defend myself.

Depends on what they are.

Sometimes I will point out the error of their ways. Sometimes they're not worth dignifying with a response, and just a raised eyebrow and a pointed turn on the heel will do.

Never do I apologize for the object of their rudeness.

Tweety, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac.

I try to clarify what they meant. Usually when confronted "what did you mean by........" they say "oh nothing, nevermind". Sometimes however, you can get to the bottom of some frustration or anger that is masked as sarcasim.

If it's really uncalled for sometimes I don't give the the power to bother me and I pretend I didn't hear them and ignore them completely.

CaseManager1947

Specializes in Psychiatry, Case Management, also OR/OB.

Again, I'd like to know the context... snide about patient care issues, getting personal about staff (size, race, etc.); what kind of snide comments are these?? Sometimes its ok to gloss it over, and sometimes it should be tactfully and assertively addressed. Imvolve your manager if needed. More info would be helpful

could you be more specific?

are they directing the comments at you, or talk to someone else, knowing you will hear it?

is their loved one new to the facility?

little more info would be helpful, in order to reply applicably.

leslie

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych.

could you be more specific?

are they directing the comments at you, or talk to someone else, knowing you will hear it?

is their loved one new to the facility?

little more info would be helpful, in order to reply applicably.

leslie

With the most recent case, yes, the loved one is very new to the facility and her family suspects that her medications and updrafts aren't being administered. The patient in question is about 80 years old and three of her granddaughters are surgical nurses at local area hospitals. The grandchildren are always making sarcastic comments to me such as, "It's so nice to see you; I thought you wouldn't come back." They expect grandma to be monitored every five minutes when, in reality, she is a stable patient in a nursing home with a predictable outcome. They are always on the phone with the facility DON or ADON about different issues. They have also questioned the validity of our claims that their grandma is confused and forgetful.

Midwest4me

Specializes in A myriad of specialties.

The grandchildren are always making sarcastic comments to me such as, "It's so nice to see you; I thought you wouldn't come back."

I'm curious as to what your response was to that question. Mine would have been something like: " Oh??? Please clarify why it is you didn't think I'd be back."

I see no sense in potentially worsening the situation by feeding into the snide comments(but then I suppose my comment above could be interpreted as such by some). Probably the best thing to do is to say: If my efforts aren't resolving the concern to your satisfaction, then perhaps you'd like to discuss it with my manager AND me. We make every effort to provide the best of care to all patients here." or something like that.

With the most recent case, yes, the loved one is very new to the facility and her family suspects that her medications and updrafts aren't being administered. The patient in question is about 80 years old and three of her granddaughters are surgical nurses at local area hospitals. The grandchildren are always making sarcastic comments to me such as, "It's so nice to see you; I thought you wouldn't come back." They expect grandma to be monitored every five minutes when, in reality, she is a stable patient in a nursing home with a predictable outcome. They are always on the phone with the facility DON or ADON about different issues. They have also questioned the validity of our claims that their grandma is confused and forgetful.

there is often alot of ambivalence and anxiety when their loved one is admitted to a snf.

furthermore, there is often behavioral change by the new resident. she might be agitated, confused/disoriented, frightened.

w/o a doubt, new residents and their family members need a good month for this major transition.

allow for 'acting-out' behaviors from either or both parties.

i would ignore their comments.

if it starts to become abusive, then there is nothing wrong with reassurance of care delivered followed by assertive and polite limit-setting.

make sure your nm is aware of any untoward interactions.

i'm sure you'll handle all of it quite well, commuter. :)

leslie

Consider that Grandma's granddaughters are surgical nurses, so they don't understand the demands and priorities of a floor nurse. All of their patients are zonked out.

I work on a step-down med/surg unit, and once had a patient whose wife was an ICU nurse. She didn't get that with a patient ratio of 4:1, her husband was not going to get the same attention that she gave her patients on a 1:1 ratio. Not to mention the fact that her husband was totally stable. She would get upset when the apple juice didn't come fast enough. But once I engaged her in conversations and explained things, she toned it down a bit.

I like the "kill them with kindness" approach. Then they usually feel bad for being a jerk. If they don't feel bad, then I have no respect for them and actually feel sorry that they're such a sad, rotten human being.

Lurksalot, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency Nursing.

I prefer to ignore the comment if possible, or if it is something I can turn into a teaching opportunity, I do. Most of the ignorant comments I have heard have been based on lack of knowledge about the situation. I sit down, clarify what the family knows about the current situation, and offer them an opportunity to ask me any questions. I make sure they know my name and how to reach me with concerns. So far this has worked very well for me in a busy ER where families are often waiting for hours and hours....and hours.

I think a lot of times the rude comments come from fear and lack of education about the situation.

Of course, there are those who are just ignorant, and alerting the NM about the situation before it gets out of hand is usually a good thing.

Marie_LPN, RN, LPN, RN

Specializes in 5 yrs OR, ASU Pre-Op 2 yr. ER.

Consider that Grandma's granddaughters are surgical nurses, so they don't understand the demands and priorities of a floor nurse. All of their patients are zonked out.

Consider that before they were surgical nurses, they had clinicals in nursing school in various depts. And perhaps they worked on the floor before getting into surgery, so maybe they knew/know the demends of a floor nurse. And in surgery, not all of the pts. are "zonked out."

Maybe the family members aren't understanding of the OP's side of things, but the above quoted rationale for it is very uninformed (not to mention dismissive).

Marie_LPN, RN, LPN, RN

Specializes in 5 yrs OR, ASU Pre-Op 2 yr. ER.

The grandchildren are always making sarcastic comments to me such as, "It's so nice to see you; I thought you wouldn't come back.

I would try therapeutic communication techniques. "You are saying that you thought i wouldn't come back. Is there anything you would like to talk about?"

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych.

Thanks to all of you for the aforementioned suggestions.

I try to clarify what they meant. Usually when confronted "what did you mean by........" they say "oh nothing, nevermind". Sometimes however, you can get to the bottom of some frustration or anger that is masked as sarcasim.

If it's really uncalled for sometimes I don't give the the power to bother me and I pretend I didn't hear them and ignore them completely.

Your right to get to the bottom of the comments. As a nurse we are dealing with the whole family, and it's best if the experience is as good as can be for the patient and family. Once we find out what is bothering them, we can fix the problem. However, there are some families who are just abusive. Ignoring their behavior will cause it to esculate. When I've had patients like this in the past, I've made a big production out of it. I call in other nurses, and the nurse manager, sometimes the MD. This way your covered, and they get all the attention they are really asking for.

ktwlpn, LPN, RN

Specializes in Med Surg, Homecare, Hospice.

Consider that before they were surgical nurses, they had clinicals in nursing school in various depts. And perhaps they worked on the floor before getting into surgery, so maybe they knew/know the demends of a floor nurse. And in surgery, not all of the pts. are "zonked out."

Maybe the family members aren't understanding of the OP's side of things, but the above quoted rationale for it is very uninformed (not to mention dismissive).

I don't find that rationale dismissive or un-informed.In my experience it is very apt.I've dealt with family members from all walks of life and find acute care nurses (for the most part) very unrealistic regarding their loved ones in LTC.Unless you have worked as a nurse in LTC you have no idea,really...I came to my first LPN position in LTC from acute care-what a shocker.Couple the lack of practical knowledge of LTC in this family with their grief and feelings of loss over their loved ones declining condition and you have got a tough go...Due to hippa the floor nurses probably don't have to deal in depth with these grandchildren directly unless they are all listed as POA or something.I would certainly make sure my supervisor was available to give these people the attention they are craving so I could care for the other 20 or 30 residents on the unit.I would try not to react to the comments at all but try to educate them regarding the routine of the unit.I would report any negative interaction to the social worker and charge nurse/nurse manager...This is the kind of thing best dealt with in team.I recently attended a meeting where the family members had a typed document with about 30 concerns listed-however several family members were involved and lots of mis-communication had resulted .For example Dtr #1 refused dental and opthamology consults on admission-dtr #2 pitched a fit because these things had not been done-etc.And these were rn's and n.p.'s.Sarcasm and thinly veiled threats were flying from these people.They were angry and trying desperatly to maintain control not only over the staff but their loved one as well...They also did not get that in LTC we can't tie residents down and force meds down their throats-they believed Mom when she said she was not getting her meds until they were shown the MAR.They could not understand dept.of health rules and regs for LTC and they did not care a wit about the needs of any other resident on the unit...This type of family can really throw the entire unit into an uproar unless they are dealt with properly.good Luck....

ortess1971

Specializes in OR.

Consider that before they were surgical nurses, they had clinicals in nursing school in various depts. And perhaps they worked on the floor before getting into surgery, so maybe they knew/know the demends of a floor nurse. And in surgery, not all of the pts. are "zonked out."

Maybe the family members aren't understanding of the OP's side of things, but the above quoted rationale for it is very uninformed (not to mention dismissive).

:yeahthat: Many of our patients are nervous/anxious about their upcoming procedures and it takes a talented and compassionate surgical nurse to build trust and allay their fears(and in a brief period of time, too.) Comments like that just widen the divide that exists in nursing. I think it's more likely that they are scared out of their wits by what's happening to their family member. Sometimes, you're worse off as a healthcare professional, because you see them with an experienced eye, and you know just how bad off they are. When my grandma died, I knew darn well things didn't look good and I couldn't even indulge in some wishful thinking, because I knew too much. That said, I see nothing wrong in confronting them(in a professional manner).
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