Case Study 3: Home Care Threat

A home health nurse is unexpectedly threatened by a familiar patient and recounts the details of her ordeal with her therapist.

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A Trusting Relationship

Sylvia, a home health nurse, has provided in-home childcare counseling and supervision for six months to Deborah and her infant born preterm. Upon her assignment to this case, Sylvia's agency performed a pre-home visit assessment and determined that, although Deborah's neighborhood was somewhat depressed, there was no imminent threat to Sylvia so long as she followed the agency's standard safety protocols. Over the course of her weekly home visits, Sylvia and Deborah developed a trusting relationship. Due to budget constraints, Sylvia made these visits alone.

A Troubled Home

Shortly before Sylvia began seeing Deborah, Deborah's older child, a 4-year-old son, was placed in his grandmother's custody after a social services investigation into child abuse and drug use in the home, mostly involving Deborah's live-in boyfriend. Deborah confided to Sylvia that she had taken the rap for her boyfriend's abuse of her child hoping to spare him from going back to jail. He went to prison anyway on a drug charge, and Deborah lost custody of her son. On Sylvia's most recent visit, Deborah's mood darkened and her conversation turned threatening as she told Sylvia about her plans for retaliating against the social worker.

Getting Crisis Care Support

After safely extricating herself from Deborah's house and reporting the incident to her employer, Sylvia finds that she is still quite shaken. As an employee benefit, her employer offers a confidential Employee Assistance Program (EAP) as an option. Though Sylvia is under no obligation to seek counseling or use a company-provided counselor, she decides to take the opportunity to utilize EAP to help her deal with the incident. In the video that follows, we learn more details of the traumatic event as Sylvia recounts her harrowing tale for her counselor.

Page last reviewed: February 7, 2020