I think family members are actually afraid to touch the patient sometimes. Like there is an invisible force field that will zap them if they attempt to do anything easy and non medical to help them.
Things that I have made me sigh: Pt's daughter comes running out, grabs me in the hall "My Dad said he is too hot. Do something to help him!" I go in there (after asking 5 other family members to step out of the way so I can actually get to the bed), the patient has 5 blankets piled on him. I pulled off 4 blankets, set them on a chair and walked out. It took a college education to figure that one out!
Perfectly capable patients that demand that I straighten out their bed because the TOP blanket is a little crumpled in the corner. They will actually be walking around in their room, stand at the foot of the bed and point to it.....
And what is it with lotion and socks? I've had many a request by family to put lotion on a patient's hands, and tons of requests to put on patients socks before they get out of bed to walk to the bathroom. I, personally, would be embarrassed to ask my loved one's nurse to do this when I am perfectly capable of doing it for them myself.