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To feel frightened about going into work now?

(14 Posts)
steppedonlego Fri 05-Jun-15 09:38:08

I work in the care sector and have done for a decade. Yesterday on shift I was on close observations with a patient (I can't go into too many details because of confidentiality) but the patient took a swipe at me after becoming very agitated. I shouted for help and three other staff came and looked, before walking away. They knew what had happened because I told them, but they just didn't come to help me. This is dangerous not only for me, but for the patient, because if he had attempted to attack me again I would have been forced to protect myself which could have resulted in injury for both of us.

I demanded that someone come and take over observations and spoke to all the staff members concerned about what they had done and why this wasn't acceptable to me, and they all were extremely apologetic and accepted they had acted wrongly. I would say this was out of character for all of them, as they have always been excellent colleagues otherwise.

But now I am feeling sick at the thought of returning to work. The risk of being attacked by a patient is always present, but something I have learnt to cope with over the years, and I have always previously been confident that I have my colleagues to back me up and make sure that any situation will be resolved quickly with minimal risk to everyone involved including the patient, but that confidence has been severely knocked now.

AIBU to still feel anxious and fearful about a potential situation arising again where they do not react appropriately despite their reassurances it won't happen again?

timeforabrewnow Fri 05-Jun-15 09:43:53

YANBU - that's awful. Have you reported the incident in writing to your line manager? If not, do, as this was a safety issue and you should have had the proper back up.

I know exactly how you feel, as a confused patient tried to kick me in the face once, and that was with a security guard there confused And no, I didn't feel particularly happy going in the next day either!

You cannot be forced to look after a patient if you feel unsafe or the backup isn't there, and should flag this up to the manager/matron and the patient's consultant,

PenguinPoser Fri 05-Jun-15 09:44:36

I think I can take an educated guess what your job is. I would suggest speaking to your manager/team leader about observations with this particular patient and the risks you feel are present. They HAVE to take it seriously and take steps to protect their staff. Well done for speaking to the others involved and getting someone else to take over. Maybe your manager can come up with something to help for example not having you back on obs with that patient?
Sorry you went through that it does sound scary flowers people can be so unpredictable when unwell.

PenguinPoser Fri 05-Jun-15 09:45:35

Oh and incident report form definitely - datix/IR1 or your local equivalent.
And YANBU.

steppedonlego Fri 05-Jun-15 09:45:40

The problem I'm having is that if I was to report it, I would be more fearful that I would be deliberately left in such a situation in retaliation for "grassing them up."

Hassled Fri 05-Jun-15 09:45:51

Did they give a reason as to why they didn't help? What was going through their minds? I agree you need to escalate this - it can't happen again.

Hassled Fri 05-Jun-15 09:47:23

Well it can be dealt with along the lines of refresher training for everyone - if situation X arises, then you are expected to do Y. Explain your fears to your manager - there should be a way it can be handled fairly informally.

Ledkr Fri 05-Jun-15 09:47:47

Do you have risk assessments and line working policies.
This should all be covered.
If the patient has hit out then his rush assessment needs amending accorduny and measures put into place to protect everyone.

PenguinPoser Fri 05-Jun-15 09:51:58

OP - I understand your concern about reporting - but it is vital for ongoing improvement to service and safety. It's not so much reporting your colleagues but ANY incident of aggression towards staff should be incident reported so that a risk assessment can be carried out to protect you and other staff members. If you're working in NHS (just speculating!) then there should be a no blame culture and when I've worked in a similar environment indecent forms for similar incidents were a regular occurrence.

steppedonlego Fri 05-Jun-15 09:56:00

Yes, an incident form was filled and risk logs updated and all handed over properly (I made sure of it) but they sound very dry and purely relate to patient Risk. All that was said about staff was "staff members x y z attended but no further involvement" which doesn't give the full message about what happened. I may have to have a quiet word with my manager. I should be due a meeting with him soon anyway.

steppedonlego Fri 05-Jun-15 09:58:38

Just to clarify, it isn't the incident of aggression which has unnerved me, it's the lack of response from colleagues to ensure the safety of all that has me panicky. I have endured much worse attacks and returned to work unmoved afterwards because I was supported and felt that I had backup.

PenguinPoser Fri 05-Jun-15 10:44:35

Hmm I see what you mean. Definitely a quiet word with your manager then. Sorry got the wrong end of the stick! In that sort of environment everyone needs to look out for and support everyone else. flowers

ImperialBlether Fri 05-Jun-15 10:50:13

You can only do a job like that if you have the full backing of the rest of your team - you really have to speak to your manager as soon as you can and they need to be spoken to very sharply. How dare they leave you in a position where you could be harmed? What level of care would they expect off you in return?

hotdogsandmustard Fri 05-Jun-15 11:26:13

I too am in a job where attacks happen and know how important back up is
they breached that . I would have gone loopy at them to be honest

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