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Ever experience a patient's family member grieving in an odd way?

Nurses   (8,732 Views | 55 Replies)
by shhhh shhhh Member

shhhh has 8 years experience and specializes in ICU, ED, Trauma, Transplant.

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shhhh has 8 years experience and specializes in ICU, ED, Trauma, Transplant.

88 Posts; 4,211 Profile Views

ETA: The updated post with a lot more details and info came after I wrote my post.

Yeah, I came to realize after getting some good sleep and reading the replies that I left out pertinent information that might have affected opinions on the actions I took. I should have known that people would question WHY I was trying to get her to give him space, and I'm sorry for not painting the whole picture the first time around.

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Yeah, I came to realize after getting some good sleep and reading the replies that I left out pertinent information that might have affected opinions on the actions I took. I should have known that people would question WHY I was trying to get her to give him space, and I'm sorry for not painting the whole picture the first time around.

now that i see the actual scenario, i totally agree w/how you handled it.

and you made my point perfectly, that you really need both consents from the spouses, and not just one.

no wonder his bp was going up.

i too, would have scooted her out of there stat, knowing that nothing she was doing, was therapeutic.

leslie

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~Mi Vida Loca~RN has 6 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in Emergency Dept. Trauma. Pediatrics.

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Yeah, I came to realize after getting some good sleep and reading the replies that I left out pertinent information that might have affected opinions on the actions I took. I should have known that people would question WHY I was trying to get her to give him space, and I'm sorry for not painting the whole picture the first time around.

No worries!! Thank you for the post.

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86 Posts; 3,468 Profile Views

I am so happy the op replied and filled in some details.

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flashpoint has 23 years experience.

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When you tell the whole story, the situation is quite different. I would likely ask an estranged family member to back off…especially if their presence had such adverse effects on vital signs and the patient's condition. But, if the scenario were as you originally presented, I would have let her stay.

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Ahh, the problem with posting things on the interwebs. No matter how well you try to explain things, you leave out info, and then come back to 20 nurses who all wonder what the heck is going on. With the added information, yes definitely a strange situation. I'm sorry you had to deal with it.

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nrsang97 has 19 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Neuro ICU and Med Surg.

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Being given more info that the patient may have needed a bone flap removed or a bolt to monitor ICP and extremetly high BP with stimulation I would have kept the wife out as much as possible as well. Only because we were trying to save his live despite poor prognosis.

IF he was comfort care and then I would have closed the door and left them alone.

This woman was detrimental to his care at this point. Lying in bed with a patient can (cause them to be extubated accidentally, lines pulled out (central and/or arterial).

I work a Neuro ICU so I have to do this a lot keeping family out due to stimulation causing elevated ICP's and BP. This guy needed NONE of that at this time. She did the right thing by keeping her away from his as much as possible.

I understand the opposite opinion, but again this isn't the time or place for her to be climbing in bed with him.

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nrsang97 has 19 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Neuro ICU and Med Surg.

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I think it would have helped for that info to be in ther original post.

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~Mi Vida Loca~RN has 6 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in Emergency Dept. Trauma. Pediatrics.

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Although with the added information I can now see the need to keep the wife away, as far as the original question of it being odd behavior, I don't think the behavior in itself was odd. As in the wife wanting to be close to her husband and kissing him or rubbing his chest. That stuff. I don't see anything odd or even sexual about that.

Given the specifics of this exact situation though I can see why it was inappropriate.

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shhhh has 8 years experience and specializes in ICU, ED, Trauma, Transplant.

88 Posts; 4,211 Profile Views

Ahh, the problem with posting things on the interwebs. No matter how well you try to explain things, you leave out info, and then come back to 20 nurses who all wonder what the heck is going on. With the added information, yes definitely a strange situation. I'm sorry you had to deal with it.

Well, I think the biggest problem was ME thinking I could type out a coherent story about this crazy 12 hr shift right after coming home from it! I really should have slept on it first.

I think I would have been less vocal about her acting that way with him if he was DNR/DNI, completely brain dead and we were all waiting for him to expire, but I think I still wouldn't be completely okay with all she was doing (especially in this situation, in which they were having marital problems and he couldn't really consent to his estranged wife's attention). But that's my personal issue that I need to work out. I know now that if I have a similar issue, I can be professional. But a little part of me is ashamed to admit that I was a bit grateful that I could use his lousy vitals as an excuse to get her off of him, because not only was he doing poorly, her presence was a big distraction while trying to give him good care.

I feel that this woman, even though she didn't accept that he will die, was grieving for the fact that everything with her husband is changed now. I had never seen grieving like that, so I came here to ask if anyone witnessed anything similar. That was the main question I wanted answered.

I'm just glad to hear from you more experienced hospice nurses that people DO react this way and it shouldn't be a shock if this happens again. I might find it easier to swallow if they were a couple who weren't having problems, if the terminal patient wasn't obtunded and could give any indication of consent. Gosh, all these gray areas we all deal with... Thanks for reading, everybody.

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5 Followers; 37,445 Posts; 100,540 Profile Views

This woman was in a different place than you were. My mother said something very inappropriate in the presence of another family member after my father's death. I am a widow myself, and I can tell you from personal experience, a person who is grieving just is not in the same place mentally as the regular crowd. You handled the situation well. Next time behavior out of the ordinary is exhibited, you will be able to respond quickly.

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Up2nogood RN is a RN and specializes in pulm/cardiology pcu, surgical onc.

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Doesn't matter to me how she was grieving, if the pt had initiated a divorce I doubt he would have wanted her in his bed. It was good to get her out and makes more sense after you contributed more details.

I have called pastoral care on many occassions to help deal with emotional families that I don't have time to invest in or the slightest inkling of what to say to comfort.

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