The nurse is making a home visit to an elderly client during the summer. Upon arrival, the nurse notices the refrigerator and freezer doors are open as the client is using both for air conditioning. Which of the following actions by the nurse are most appropriate?

  • instruct the client to place a fan in front of the freezer to enhance circulation of cool air
  • hold a meeting with the client and family to advise them of the safety risks of this practice
  • note this observation in the client’s medical record, but do not discuss with the client
  • report the incident to the nursing supervisor
Number 2 is correct.
The nurse has an obligation to promote safety of the client in the home. Leaving the refrigerator and freezer door open for extended periods of time may lessen the temperature of perishable food items. Instructing the client to place a fan in front of the freezer serves to encourage risky behavior. The nurse has an obligation to intervene when an unsafe practice is observed in the house. In a reasonable period of time the nurse should inform the nursing supervisor, but this is not the most appropriate action to address a potential safety hazard.