Thursday, January 5, 2012

Don't Tell Me Not to Worry

Don't Worry

Grrrr,  The one thing that really gets under my skin is when a doctor (or any medical professional) says to the patient or family member (who is caring for the patient), "Don’t worry” instead of answering the question!!!  The mom asked a specific question about the readings on her son who is ICU for the fourth day, where she sits and sleeps each night next to his bed.  THEY keep changing the diagnosis, and medication to treat the newest diagnosis and she asks a simple question about the numbers and the doctor, in her pumps and white coat answers, “Don’t worry about that the nurses are here to watch that”.

No, here in ICU the nurses walk out of the room and go – we don’t know where for long periods of time.  Mom has had to get the nurse when the vent came undone and alarms would go off.  Mom was right each time she thought her son had a fever and the nurse didn’t think so but he did have a fever – changing the care plan.  Mom has all the records of his past treatments, tests, medications, doctors, allergies, illnesses …. And you can’t answer the questions because you are…… so busy and important?

I would have liked to say, do you think this is the 1960’s where family doesn’t ask questions?   Can’t you just answer the question or don’t you know the answer?  Aha!  That’s it, you must not know because now the mom feels like you have just patted her on the head and said go away little girl.  How DARE you not answer her question!   But that’s what I would have said, mom wants to keep peace.

Here in this hospital families are asked to leave during rounds and during shift changes.  This makes moms and family more anxious.  That also is so ancient.  Patients who can’t speak for themselves, have a rare disorder and are intubated in ICU need their family there especially when the doctors come around.  Studies have proven this is helpful to the patient's safety and care.  In ICU when a patient can’t speak or understand what is being said, they should welcome the mother there.  She would probably have less questions all day. 

One nurse told me it’s about HIPAA, The other patient’s privacy.  I told him “Don’t tell me about HIPAA, we hear all day long what’s going on with the patients in the next bed and their family hears this patient’s information.  No one is buying media time to report it”.  He went back to his desk.

Some articles on including the patient in shift changes:
Incorporating Bedside Reporting into Change-of-Shift Report

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