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

Nurses   (8,733 Views | 55 Replies)
by shhhh shhhh Member

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

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CT Pixie has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN.

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Even with the added info, I still don't find it odd for a person to grieve in that way.

But I better understand your reasoning for trying to limit her contact with him.

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Whispera is a MSN, RN and specializes in psych, addictions, hospice, education.

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the added details are good to know...

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Esme12 has 40 years experience as a ASN, BSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma.

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Speaking as a critical care nurse I have witnessed many different greiving processes. I have bore witness to vodoo rituals, exorcisms, healing rituals, prayer vigils, pagan rituals, hex removals, onion rubbing on feet,observed symbolic thrashings to beat the devil out, as well as the hiring of professional fully black clad mouring whailers or cryers. I have opened windows, burned candles, allowed various ICONS to be placed on the bed and in the room in observation of a persons culture and beliefs. I have snuck babies, dogs, food, and other paraphernalia into patients room and beds to fullfill dying wishes. But even I would stop short of allowing this wife from leaping in bed with a critical patient and endanger his health and welfare even if his prognosis is poor.

Even before the OP posted the details, I agreed that this woman went past what can be allowed in an ICU setting with a critical patient requiring frequent interventions to keep them alive no matter how futile. When you have a critical patient, whether or not they have a good or bad prognosis, your efforts are focused on saving whatever you can of the patients life and prevent them from coding. The presence of an additional body in bed to accompany the rest of the tubes and IV lines is just logistically impossible. Especially in view of the fact that the patient was a head trauma and if stimuli caused his B/P to elevate one can only guess what his ICP was doing. The goal of head trauma is to decrease stimuli as much as possible which includes allowing the wife or ex-wife to be straddle his insert form in a bed filled with life saving equipment.

I understand that people who are distraught can do really bizzare things and say equally bizzare things. It is our job to give them the support and resources needed to deal with their feelings amongst the tragedy of the situation. I would request the clergy or pastoral care and social services to assist in the situation of controlling the wife or possible engage other family member to help control the situation. If the patient is a full code and require critical intervention and the wife in bed makes the situation worse she can't be in the bed.

A long time ago I took care of an 8yo litttle girl. I remember her name, her face, her hair......she was struck by a car. :crying2: Her condition was so critical that she could not be taken to the OR to stablilize her femur fracture and her leg was left in the Hare traction for EMS. Her ICP remained impossible to control and I allowed her mother to participate as much as possible in her care and allow her to touch her whenever possible to maximize the mother being able to touch her daughter when she was being stimulated so that there was some contact between them.

While she was a full code I could not allow her mother to hold her daughter no matter how much she begged and I agonized over this for a long time. If she leaped up on the bed I would have had to have made her get off. I would make sure I would let it be know it was for the best interest for her daughter and I did not mean to hurt her or keep her from her daughter. ICU is not hospice, while we try to respect families wishes and feelings, we need to set limits so the patient can remain safe and try to recover......... unless they are a DNR.

When it was determined that her daughter had suffered brain death.... :crying2:I removed her from life support and disconnected her from all those tubes (they had to remain as she was a coroners case) and place her in her mothers arms who was sitting in a "borrowed" ;) :orocking chair from OB. I gave her the call bell and left the room. I did not return unitl the mother rang the bell and was ready to say goodbye.

The OP was absolutely correct to not allow the woman in the bed of the patient reguardless of the state of the marriage or separation. It would be based on the saftey for the patient in the critical phase of his injury. Like I said....... I have allowed all kinds of things to go on in the patient room and around me...... but there are times the condition of the patient prevents the families full expression of love for the patient and limits have to be set and if they refuse they need to be escorted somewhere quiet until they can control themselves.

I mean really..........:cool: think about it ...........a fresh admit to ICU with a critically injured patient.......many families are so intimidated by all the equiptment. I have had trouble getting them to enter the room let alone getting them to touch the patients hand..........and this one leaps in bed with the patient rubs him all over and straddles the patient in her grief? I have to admit it makes me go Hummmmmmm:confused: It would have taken me by suprise too and that doesn't even add in the icky factor or a oozy goozy trauma.....yuck:smokin:

It is very hard as an ICU nurse to walk that fine line between family "rights" and what in reality is possible. What a long shift that must have been......((HUGS)):heartbeat

Edited by Esme12

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However, before the additional information was available, many including myself thought we were talking about a patient who was simply going to die. In that case, I'd be much more accommodating, ICU or not.

Of course, the updates change the scenario significantly IMHO.

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176 Posts; 5,303 Profile Views

However, before the additional information was available, many including myself thought we were talking about a patient who was simply going to die. In that case, I'd be much more accommodating, ICU or not.

Of course, the updates change the scenario significantly IMHO.

What is so interesting about this thread is that it was never stated that the patient was about to die....only that his prognosis was poor. It seems thateveryone jumped on the bandwagon.....even though it was pointed out several times that the patient may still be a full code.

I find it very interesting and I am not sure how it happened.

Sent from iPhone ....please

Ignore typos

Edited by mcleanl
Can't type on iPhone......uggh

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176 Posts; 5,303 Profile Views

Oooh....Gila.....I didn't mean to quote you. Not

Sure how I managed that! My apologies

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566 Posts; 11,305 Profile Views

No matter if the husband was at death's door, or was given a poor prognosis, the wife was grieving about what had just happened. This thread is about how nurses view and handle different styles of grieving. I think this is a great topic that needs more discussion and understanding.

Edited by blueyesue

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

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The wife does have a right to grieve but in this case the pt had initiated a divorce and can't communicate his desire to have this woman getting physical with him. I would say sorry no can do. End of story.

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