How do you deal with those precious patients who have so much to say?

  1. Hi,
    I'm a nursing student and have been visiting a nursing home (visiting grandmother). Some of the patients have so much to say and don't seem to want to stop talking. I LOVE sitting and listening to them but eventually have to go. Some seem so desperate to talk to someone. So Lonely. How does a nurse handle this situation when they are so busy but don't want to be rude and just walk away. One little lady caught me and just looked at me so desperately and grabbed ahold of my hand mumbling about her family (I couldn't understand her), then she would start singing. Every time I said, "Your ok, everything is ok...I have to go" she would practically beg me not to leave her. Finally, I had to just walk away. I felt so awful about this all evening. I wanted to just stay and hold her hand as long as I could.

    It just amazes me to see the old folks who have lived such a long life and have seen so many things change and here they sit in a nursing home like little babies. They deserve the utmost respect and loving care. They need to be told "Yes, Maam or Yes, Sir".

    Knowing that this is most likely the line of work I will be in once I graduate from school, I wonder how I will be able to go home at night and not worry that they are being treated well and with the respect they deserve. Or worry that they are lonely. I worry about how I'm going to be able to see the suffering daily and go home at night to my family and not be sad. It hurts my heart so badly to see them suffering. How do you deal with this? How do you deal with those precious patients who have so much to say and not the time to sit and listen to them because you have to tend to other patients?
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   florry
    Dear Paige!

    When I read your letter, I thought or hoped that you could write this letter in a newspaper, magazine or something! I thought you wrote so directly, honestly and really good!

    I know excactly what you mean, and how I deal with it in a good way?

    I have to think that I can do a little bit for some people, but I cant save the whole world. The few minutes, secunds or the little time I have, I must think that "Ok, now I have 2 min. for this old lady, but I have to use them right:

    with: compassion, caring, loving, empathy, understanding and comfort."

    Its about beeing distance: you can be too cloose, but you can be too fare away from the person in front of you. Emotional, physical, social and spiritual.

    Do I write understandable? My english, you see.
    I think after allmost 25 years in nursing, I can see all the needs, but I cannot drown myself, I have to do something out of the "little thing", even it is "hands on", "a hug"...
    Am I too cold?
  4. by   tattooednursie
    I know exactly how you feel Paige. One night I was working a 3 hall as a CNA and a residnet kept wanting me to talk to her after her roomate died, so i did for qute a while and I though the resident was a sleep so I got up and lefy and I took about 10 steps out the door and she was all like "Please dont leave me!" and I kept walking because I had alot of work to do, ten she starte wailing so loud that I could hear it all the way down in the other end of the facility, so I went back there. I sat with her a while longer and then explained that I had more work to do. then I left, and she started crying again, but I had to leave. Towards the end of my shift I felt bad, and I started crying too (lol, I'm a big baby) and I went down to her room and knelt by her bed. I whispered "I'm back for a while." and then I got the ever so famous "Ya woke me up damn it!"

    I don't know if that helped any, I just though I would share that.
  5. by   frankie
    Pagiepoo student - Kudos to you for visiting your grandmother. One can never be ttttooooo caring. What you do with those patients who have all that life experience to talk about - you listen, you play their music, reminisce, talk about general stuff in your age group. Expand their world. It is very small. Worrying about them does not help them - interacting with them helps. Sort of like when you are the reciepient of one of those random acts of kindness - you feel all warm and fuzzy - and the other person probably spent a small amount of time - but you feel so good. That is what 4 minutes can do for a senior person. good luck in school - you will make a great nurse - frankie
  6. by   frankie
    paige - I am from Louisiana too - New Orleans - Where are you from? frankie
  7. by   RNConnieF
    Paige,
    You will never feel like you did enough. I love working in LTC but having to leave before my patients are ready is a sad reality of my job. At night I go home a think about the one or two things I was able to do to make a resident feel special and loved. It doesn't always have to be about spending time talking. Sometimes it's about remembering that Jane doesn't like peas and getting her corn at dinner, or remembering that today is Mike's anniversary, or that Pat played piano in the movie theater and asking her to play after dinner, or going over to put a hand on Kate;s shoulder and tell her "There's my Kathleen" even when she's not my patient. All these little things count too. Celebrate what you can do and try not to spend too much time worrying about what you can't do. Sometimes we nurses forget that we can not replace family that has chosen to forget their Mother.
  8. by   Nursenan0
    Paige,
    The way I deal with feeling like I cant spend enough time with everyone is.....Every night i choose one resident and do something special for just them.....do their hair before dinner, a back rub, discuss a tv show they are interested in, sports are usually a big hit with my residents, something they are crocheting...i check on the progress they make each night or every few days, I have taken time to give someone a whirlpool just because I know they enjoy them, even small things seem to help my residents and me! Its the Nurses who realize "you will never be able to do enough" who make a difference.....
    Nursenan
  9. by   ktwlpn
    You all rock!!! And Paige-you will make a difference...You will set an example for your staff by showing your compassion and respect for all....It broke my heart when I realized that many of my residents may exist for months at a time without a friendly hug or pat on the shoulder....or sometimes even a smile....I feel as though I am a visitor in their home and as such must be courteous.It is surprising how many staff members -both nurses and nursing assistants -are surly and miserable) Even when we are having problems of our own we must leave them at the door....My am priviledged to work in a very well staffed LTC-the days when I have time to really interact with the residents on a personal level-not as nursing duty-are the best...
  10. by   adrienurse
    No you can't stay there forever and chat. The technique is to make her feel validated -- like you feel special just to have talked to her. Set limits, pat her hand and smile and say "well I'm so glad to see you again, I'll be sure to stop by and chat the next time I'm here, have a good day".

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