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eDocTalk article

Inappropriate behaviors require immediate action

December 2013

Legacy Health is reaffirming its commitment to high quality and safe care for its patients and their families. It wants all physicians and staff to know what to do in cases of inappropriate behavior by Legacy staff or physicians.

Steps to take immediately 

  • Listen carefully to what the patient or family is telling you. Don’t be dismissive. Go to a quiet/private place if needed to make sure you hear the full story.
  • Ensure there is no immediate risk to the patient. If needed, call Security.
  • Do not communicate the complaint directly to the accused person.
  • Report all information immediately through your chain of command: start with your charge nurse/department supervisor, the house nursing supervisor and/or your department manager. Get someone involved right away. Discuss appropriate responsive actions with your chain of command to ensure a safe patient environment.
  • Complete a Patient Safety Alert (PSA). Include any details you heard from the patient and your responsive actions. Do not include details other than the PSA number (EV2013XXXXX) in email to notify others of the event.
  • Respect the privacy of the patient and your coworkers; do not gossip or speculate about patients or coworkers.

Recognizing inappropriate behavior

Here are things to listen and watch for:

  • "I want to talk to you about my care."
  • "My (doctor/nurse/caregiver) makes me feel uncomfortable."
  • "My care provider did something weird/odd/inappropriate."
  • You approach a treatment area and find a door locked or blocked.
  • You enter a room and see staff behaving inappropriately (making inappropriate comments, inappropriately touching patient, in bed with patient, etc.)
  • Patient appears fearful or worried around a particular caregiver
  • A friend/family member of the patient tells you a staff member behaved inappropriately
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