Patients’ family members are often stressed, and sometimes they get angry with nursing staff. What is the best way to respond to those feelings?
Janice Linton, DNP, APRN, ANP-BC, CCRN, ACHPN, replies:
Clinicians in hospitals provide medical care and intervention to improve the outcomes of sick and injured patients. Hospitals—especially intensive care units (ICUs)—can, however, be a frightening place that causes anxiety, uncertainty, and stress among patients and their families. Among persons receiving ICU-level care, 1 in 5 will die in the hospital or soon after being discharged.1 Families entering an ICU are often overwhelmed by unfamiliar sights and the sounds of alarms and medical jargon, and they are blindsided by the image of their critically ill loved one receiving life-prolonging care.
In these unfamiliar spaces, family members are frequently stressed and sometimes become angry with the nursing staff who approach them...