Preparing families for EOL

  1. Hi guys! I have a question for my fellow ICU nurses out there who probably deal with a fair amount of end of life/withdrawal of care situations. I have learned over time that I am extremely awkward with families when it comes to EOL. I never know what to say to comfort them, I worry that I will get in the way, etc. It just doesn't seem to come naturally to me. Of course I do all the usual.. make sure the patient is presentable, looks comfortable, chairs in the room, make sure the patient's hands can be reached in case family wants to hold their hand, have chaplain come if requested, monitor on/off depending on family preference, make sure beverages and tissues are in the room. I always tell the family I am readily available for any needs and that I am their support during this difficult time. But other than the basics, I am pretty crappy at comforting families and honestly tend to just hide in the corner.

    What are some things you say to family members to comfort them? How else do you prepare them for EOL? I'm also *very* curious to know how other nurses orient people to the actual dying process (the noises they will hear, what is normal, what is not what to expect, etc.. the specific wording of your explanation). THANKS!!!
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