Kathy Martin, RN, tells her PFCC story – family presence was “invaluable”

Kathy Martin, RN, tells her PFCC story – family presence was “invaluable”

 A note from Kathy Martin, RN, a night shift nurse on the Medical Surgical Unit

Recently, I cared for a patient who, due to metabolic changes caused by his pneumonia, had became very confused. Earlier in the day, he began hallucinating. His health care team’s priority was keeping him safe, so when his hallucinations caused him to attempt to climb out of bed and pull at medical equipment they made the decision to use restraints to protect him, according to protocol. That night, after I took over his care, he fell asleep and we removed the restraints.

During the night, he became very confused again, insisting he needed to go outside. We used several strategies to help reorient him and encourage him to stay safely in bed: I administered a medication to help him relax and moved him into a chair to see if that would be helpful. Sometimes, a change in location or position can calm patients in this state. Unfortunately, he remained confused and, after we had exhausted all of our options, we decided to reapply restraints to ensure his safety.

We contacted the patient’s family and they came immediately. Seeing their familiar faces and hearing their voices meant a world of difference in this patient’s recovery. His wife was able to reorient him as much as possible—she also helped ambulate him and kept him comfortable. Her presence was invaluable.

I’m was so impressed with her patience, kindness and willingness to do anything that would help him recover. I realize they must have a very special relationship in order for her remain so positive. She stayed up with him at night reassuring him everything was going to be okay. She must have been exhausted but refused to leave his side.

This was a heartwarming time for me and was a beautiful example of the benefits in working with families to care for our patients—and that is what patient- and family-centered care is all about.

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