Tips for volunteer in Neuro ICU for communicating with family


Hi All,

I'm about to start a volunteer shift as a family liason (reporting to nurses) in a Nuero ICU at Mass Gen Hospital and I wanted to reach out for tips on communicating with familiy members in a critical care setting. I have no experience in this setting and although I've found some helpful tips in an internet search, I wanted to get some feedback as I'm beginning to get a bit nervous. Any ways I can educate myself ... the best I can do for the nurses and patients!

What are some really tough comments/questions you've received (not directly clinical) or that stood out to you, and how did you respond?

What has been the best approach for difficult family members or those dealing with an immense amount of stress/anxiety?

Do you have similiar volunteers on your unit? What actions/attributes helped you the most from these volunteers?

Any tips and resources are greatly appreciated! Thank you :-)

Altra, BSN, RN

6,255 Posts

Specializes in Emergency & Trauma/Adult ICU.

I applaud your enthusiasm and apparent willingness to make the most of this volunteer position for the benefit of patients and their families.

What training have you been given? What kind of job description has been provided to you?

In my experience volunteers generally provide limited emotional and logistical support for families -- obtaining appropriate comfort items, directing them to amenities and resources within the hospital and the immediate surrounding neighborhood, etc.

You will likely be exposed to highly technological care that you have not seen before. You'll learn a great deal about the care interventions and about the patient and family's response to such care.

Good luck to you. :)