Jan 19, '16
I've been working on a neuro unit for about a year now (and was a home health aide for a client with Parkinson's and dementia a year before that), so hopefully I can offer some insight. Hopefully you guys don't mind reading a nursing assistant's perspective too. I sincerely love my neuro patients.
To me, the most rewarding part of caring for neuro patients is meeting them at whatever "level" they're on at the moment and just being a person they can communicate with in their own way at that time. The look in a dementia patient's eyes when she finally remembered her favorite poem from when she was a girl and recited it to me perfectly, proud of herself for exercising her mind. Or sitting with them while they tell you stories of when they were young and their minds were still full of color.
But sometimes it's just as simple as having a cva patient with expressive aphasia speak up for the first time all shift to ask "will I see you again tonight?" as you're making your final rounds. Then you have the larger than life spontaneous type of confusion where you can never guess what's going to come out of their mouth next, but you're sure it's either going to hurt your feelings a little or make you want to laugh (Like the patient who literally thought I was Lyndon B. Johnson) . I could go on forever, but the point is I'm truly never bored at work.
With all of that being said, they can be an immense challenge too. Sometimes communication barriers can end in tears. Confused patients don't tend to call for help when they have to pee (god help them if they have a UTI), so we have a lot of bed alarms. We get a lot of patients who need sitters to be in the room with them 24/7 for a variety of reasons, which takes our staff off of the floor. We see a lot of very sad cases in my opinion – strokes, brain tumors, brain bleeds, etc all make for very heavy family moments. There's nothing like seeing a child try to communicate with their unresponsive parent after a massive stroke. It also doesn't help that my facility is lacking a psych unit, so neuro absorbs the majority of that and our confused patients definitely feed off of that energy.
That's my two cents
Last edit by idletalk on Jan 19, '16