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Just a new grad, but I saw one experience handled well where the family was very demanding, critical, and driving the nurses up the wall. The charge nurse did an awesome job of speaking with the family, offering to help out the nurse, and calling a customer service type person who came and acted as a buffer between the family and the nurse to improve satisfaction and get the needs of both the family and the patient met.
Sometimes something as simple as asking family members what they need can make all the difference. If I can give families some measure of control--helping care for the patient, asking their opinions of what they think their family members need--that takes some of the pressure off you and gives them something to do other than criticize staff .