Communication with relatives

Relatives are often overwhelmed by the environment of an intensive care unit, are worried about the patient and are easily confused by the information they are given about critically ill patients. Most communication should be face to face, avoiding lengthy discussions on the telephone. Where several people are imparting information, differences in emphasis or content destroy any chance of effective communication. It is essential that the bedside nurse is present when relatives are spoken to since there are often questions and concerns which crop up later and are directed to the nurse; it is worth remembering that the relatives have greater contact with the nurses and often build up a relationship with them. Where admitting teams need to communicate with relatives about a specific aspect of the illness the bedside nurse and, ideally, a member of the intensive care medical staff, should be present. Most interviews with relatives should be away from the bedside although it is often helpful to impart simple information at the bedside, particularly to demonstrate particular issues. Again it must be remembered that the patient may hear the conversation. While it is helpful to interview all relatives together this is not always practical, either because they cannot all be present at once or because they do not relate to each other. Information often changes when delivered second hand so it is better to communicate directly with various relatives separately in these circumstances.

P.565 P.566

0 0

Post a comment