Was reprimanded for wearing gloves while working with a patient


I'm not a nurse but a physical therapist working in what I may add a very unsanitary nursing home. The staff is very neglectful with regards to patient care. The nursing assistants do not toilet residents on a regular basis so often residents are sitting in soiled briefs for hours or they have on two briefs because the staff don't want to change them. This presents as a skin and hygiene issue. Two weeks ago bed bugs were found crawling around a pts bed and infested their wheelchair. I could go on but I digress. Anything you can think of many of the pts have from Mrsa, cdiff, HIV etc. I got reprimanded not once but twice for ambulating residents in the hallway wearing gloves while doing my job. These pts of course had active infections. My defense is that I have a responsibility to adhere to universal precautions as I don't wish to get sick. My health is my primary concern and protecting the health of residents as well. Often in the midst of working with a pt is enough to make them void. I was told that it was a dignity issue. How when I am working with sick people? Why should I have to throw caution to the wind here? It's hard to get many of these pts to simply wash their hands. I observe people actively digging around in their own briefs. Any advice on how to proceed now?


86 Posts

Ummmmm...yuck, first of all....if cna's aren't toileting residents and c-diff or any other yucky germ is present, wewr gloves. Better yet, if you are in a facility where 2 briefs are normal, call the state. Would you like to sit in pee all day? No? Then call state and get that place shut down. That is a disgrace, to treat our elderly that way. Please report!!!!!!

Specializes in ER.

I'd begin looking for a new job. If that is how they treat their residents, imagine what they are going to do to the staff. Bugs in a wheelchair? Ew.


1,756 Posts

Specializes in LTC, Memory loss, PDN. Has 23 years experience.

reprimanded by who

your employer or facility staff

do you work for a company that has a contract

with the facility

i guess the rationale for you not to wear gloves is that

you do not come in contact with body fluids

however, you cannot let go of the pt. and put on gloves

should they sneeze, cough, etc.

look at the pt.s fingernails, i bet they're not the cleanest

if i was asked about wearing gloves, i'd show that person the

pt.s fingernails


28 Posts

The best advice I can give you on "how to proceed" is to report this place immediately!! You have an obligation to report the neglect you stated you've observed.


13 Posts

I agree, you need to contact the local authority, ombudsman, or state. I don't know if physical therapists are mandated reporters, but this is neglect. Please report for the safety and humanity of your patients. Continue wearing gloves to protect yourself in the mean time.

Specializes in SICU, trauma, neuro. Has 16 years experience.

I'm with you, protect your health.

That said, I agree completely w/ PPs that this place needs to be reported. I find it ironic too, that they're so concerned about the indignity of gloves, but not about soiled elders and vermin infestation. Those poor people!


5 Posts

I think it all depends on how good your rehab dept and nursing relationship is. Is there a way to speak with the director of nurses and voice your concerns, or are they going to poo-poo you and sweep it under the rug? I worked in a wonderful SNF where the rehab and nursing had a great relationship and all concerns were addressed immediately that day and the administrator followed up that day or the next at morning meeting. I know a lot of these issues MUST be followed up on, that is the only way things will get better. People have to be held accountable for their lazy work ethics, we all know this, but you have to act on it. If you feel that this place is too far gone and your rehab/nursing relationship is in the toilet, then report straight to the DPH. But you must know that if you still work there....watch out. I hate to say it but unfortunately that's the world today. Express your concerns for the resident's health and safety, ALWAYS make it about the residents! Because it really is, right? If they weren't there, we wouldn't have a job, correct? So I think you know what you need to do, however, I feel for the administrator.....maybe,maybe not.....does he know what really goes on?

Specializes in IMCU, Oncology. Has 3 years experience.

My first thought when I read this, was why would you be working there and not report the situation?!?! I can't imagine have an elderly relative living in such conditions when you are afraid you will get sick while not having reported anything! I agree you have an obligation to report this place!!!

Specializes in Neuro. Has 1 years experience.

My only thought is why you haven't reported this! As a healthcare worker you are obligated to do so! You can be in trouble for this too! You're not helping their situation at all, I immediately suggest that you report this facility ASAP you're not only putting your health and safety at risk but the health of everyone in and around that building and anyone that steps one foot into that doorway! It's a shame that you haven't took action against such a crime as poor care

Golden rule how would you feel?


2 Articles; 1,406 Posts

Specializes in nursing education.

I think you would get some excellent responses if you posted this in the LTC section, and also agree that you need to report this facility.

Sam J.

407 Posts

SNFs aren't generally known for their keen focus on housekeeping- that's usually the first expense that gets cut, despite the housekeepers being paid so poorly. Aside from the other problems, welcome to the real world of many SNFs. But- I've never worked in a SNF that allowed gloves to be worn in the hallways, or dining rooms, for several reasons. Dignity. Spreading bugs from inside the rooms to the rest of the place, by wearing gloves rather than washing your hands. Using supplies wastefully (gloves are intended for direct patient care, not pushing a wheelchair). Etc. Surveyors will also have an issue with this. Best bet is to clean the wheelchair, or at least the handles, if you have concerns about what might be lurking there. And everyone is a SNF is guilty of spreading germs- if you think about it, do you 'really' wash your hands according to protocol, which might be a few hundred times a day? It doesn't seem like many people in your place are doing so.