Family questions in the ICU

  1. Need help friends:

    I'm working on a project for families of ICU patients (or future ICU patients) to answer family FAQs.

    Could you fellow critical care nurses out there give me some ideas for say 20 of the most common FAQs you get asked?

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    About mattcastens

    Joined: Sep '01; Posts: 273; Likes: 31


  3. by   2ndCareerRN
    The one that I was asked quite frequently was:

    Can he/she hear us?

    Which would lead to a discussion about hearing being the last sense to go and the first to come back, and just the fact that they are talking comforts both the patient and the family.

  4. by   LasVegasRN
    Who is allowed to visit?

    What are the visiting hours?

    Can they hear me?

    How long does he/she have to stay here? When can they leave?

    Will they have the same nurse all the time? Why or why not?

    I'm afraid of all those machines, would it be best not to visit until they are gone?

    How often does the doctor come in?

    Who are all these people going in and out of the room?

    Why aren't flowers or plants allowed?

    Those are some off the top of my head...
  5. by   Stargazer
    Is it okay to touch him/talk to him?

    Why is his skin so cold/hot/why does he look so pale/why is he so puffy?

    Why do all those numbers (art line, PA, vent pressures, HR) keep changing so fast? Is it bad when the lines on the monitor move?

    What does it mean when a piece of equipment alarms?

    If you keep giving him morphine/Demerol/Valium/other, won't he get addicted?

    Does it hurt him when you suction him?

    Why is he so confused?

    Can I/other family members/friends visit if they have a cold?

    Can he get sick/catch something from the patient in the next bed?
  6. by   RNinICU
    What do all of those numbers and lines on the monitor mean?

    Why is that monitor/ventilator/IV pump beeping?

    Can I touch him?

    Will you call me if anything changes?

    Is he going to get better?

    Who can visit?

    Can I stay here in the room with him all the time?

    Is he in pain?

    Why isn't he waking up?

    We recently did a similar project in our unit to adress family concerns and wrote up a brochure that we give to families when the patient is admitted. It has helped to reduce the time we spend answereing these general type of questions. I also do a lecture for our Critical Care Course on dealing with families of patients in ICU. Let me know if I can be of any help.
  7. by   JeannieM
    "Is he going to die?"
    (Or, the alternative for the terminal patient...) "How long will it be before he dies?"
    Those can be some long, painful shifts...
  8. by   mattcastens
    Originally posted by JeannieM
    "Is he going to die?"
    Heh ... every time I get asked that one, I'm tempted to quote a line from "War of the Roses":

    "So I'm not going to die?"

    "Well ... eventually. But not today."

    Tempted, mind you -- I've never actually said it.

    These are all great suggestions! Keep 'em coming!
  9. by   NSDRN
    I get asked sooooo many questions it's hard to even remember. I think this project is a great idea! Please let us know what you find. Here's some of the quesions that stick out in my mind.

    When is he/her coming off the breathing machine?

    What do all those numbers on the monitor mean?

    When will the doctor come around?

    Will you call me if anything changes?

    Why can't I stay in the room with the patient?

    Why is the iv pump/ventilator/feeding pump, etc alarming?

    Can he/she hear me?

    Can I touch him/her?

    Why can't he/she talk(ventilator pts.)?

    Do you think he/she is in pain? How can you tell?

    Why are his/her arms restrained?

    Why is he/she sedated?

    Hope this helps.
  10. by   mattsmom81
    We also put out a brochure with frequently asked general questions....which saves the nurse time...then he/she can tackle the more 'individual' ones.

    I hate the 20 questions and "Quick nurse... Come here...the lines on the blipping machine have changed." Don't ya'll??

    Some visitors get so wrapped up in the monitors...I find it easier to tell reassure them that they are being viewed on monitors outside of the room too, so don't be concerned, they are for me to worry about, so just hold your dear one's hand and forget about the beeping blipping machines....
  11. by   mattcastens
    I've been putting together a new website to help answer these questions. Check it out! Helpful comments are definitely welcome, as are more questions.

    It's still in the works, but tell me what you think so far.

    I would prefer that you contact me directly with suggestions.

  12. by   canoehead
    I see the Questions, man, but where are the Answers?

    canoe swings her dreads and offers Matt a toke...