PD and wwork

H as any one out there had trouble doing their PD while at work? I hit a hard patch. I have been doing 1 PD exchange in my office for 3 1/2 years out of 5 and now the powers that be are telling me I am an infection control problem. They say I either have to go home to do my exchange or I have to go to what is callled the “wellness center” which is really just a glorified ER. Going to the center is going to expose me to what ever kind of bacteria comes in the door. Nothing I have tried to explain seems to get through to these people. I am a RN and I work in a hospital, I do education, so that pretty much keeps me away from all infectiuos patients. But going to the center is putting back with patient with infections. I am in a quandry. :?

Does anyone else see the irony of this situation. You’re a nurse and work in a hospital where sick people come every day to get treatment. The patients pose a greater risk to your co-workers so far as infection is concerned than you ever could.

I’d suggest you read about the Americans with Disabilities Act’s employment provisions:
http://www.dol.gov/odep/pubs/adabro/employ.htm

Basically, employers with 15 employees or more must provide “reasonable accommodation” to people with conditions that substantially alter their life activities. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals (PA) in Fiscus v. Wal-Mart ruled kidney failure and dialysis substantially limits life activities so those with this condition are protected by the ADA. In this case, Fiscus was on PD, had a workplace injury was denied reasonable accommodation. Wal-Mart placed her on disability leave and terminated her while she was recuperating from her transplant because she’d been on disability leave 12 months, the maximum Wal-Mart allows. The district court found in favor of Wal-Mart. The court of appeals reversed that decision and sent it back to the lower court.

You are not asking for an unreasonable accommodation. Many employers allow working CAPD patients to do their exchange at work in an office, a bathroom, or in a conference room. Some patients do their CAPD exchnages in their car if they don’t have access to other private places at work. If you have a door on your office that closes, you can keep co-workers out while you’re doing your exchange. Everyone working in dialysis knows that people on CAPD are at risk of getting an infection from someone else while you’re doing an exchange. I’ve never heard of anyone questioning a CAPD patient as an infection risk to others. In any case, by keeping co-workers out of your office during your exchange, your risk of being infected by co-workers is low. And by bagging and taking your used supplies home to discard in your trash, you’re eliminating any fear your employer might have about someone becoming infected with something from your discarded supplies. Incidentally, I’ve never heard of this happening.

Why do you believe your employer is asking you to change what you’ve been doing successfully for more than 3 years? Has your employer talked with you about how he/she would count the extra time you would need to go home or to the wellness center to do your exchange. Is he/she trying to find a way to say you’re taking too much time off work or you’re not productive enough? Except for connect/disconnect times, you could be 100% productive during your dialysis exchange if allowed to do it in your office at your desk. If risk of infection to others is the real issue, does your employer require people with diabetes to go home or to the wellness center to take insulin? Their needles pose an infection risk. Shouldn’t anyone who has to do a medical procedure at work need to follow the same policies?

How much does your employer know about CAPD exchanges? Apparently you’ve tried to explain it. You know your work environment and personalities better than I do. Have you talked with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or an attorney (remember the Fiscus case). Would it help if your home training nurse or nephrologist wrote a letter to your supervisor (and let you read it first)? Should the letter also go to the head of your department, the HR department and/or the hospital CEO?