Ask Auntie Linda, October 14, 2015

Auntie Linda

Dear Auntie, This doesn’t seem like much of a problem as problems go, but it bothers me.  My husband and I are both nurses.  He works twelve hour day shifts during the week and I work twelve hour shifts on three weekend nights so one of us will always be able to care of our two small children who are home-schooled.  This is full-time for both of us, even though it does involve less days.  It requires a lot of sacrifice, but is worth it to take care of them ourselves.  The problem is, lots  people seem to think I don’t work, since I am always home.  “Working mothers”, friends, and relatives are the worst assuming I am always available if their child gets sick at school, has to miss a day of school, or needs a baby sitter when daycares are closed for holidays.  A couple have even given me as an emergency contact without telling me.  I homeschool and have to schedule carefully to make sure my kids get all the experiences and lessons they need.  Why would anyone assume that just because a woman is at home means she is on call to fill in? Nancy Nurse

Dear Nancy, They don’t assume you are free.  They are either desperate, inconsiderate, or selfish.  Maybe all three.  They are imposing.  You will just have to educate them by refusing.  No explanation is necessary.  Auntie Linda

Dear Auntie Linda,  I am a nurse and would like to let people know, your patient is likely to be more comfortable if family bathes and grooms them, if you are able and there is no reason for you not to do it.  Just check with the staff, first.  They are there to care for your patient, but your patient may be modest and prefer your help.  They will also get care in a timely manner.  If there are thirty patients on a unit, there may not be but three or less staff to do bathing and grooming.  It is not that staff doesn’t want to take care of you, it just takes a while to for them to get to everybody.  Help your patient, if you can.  No one wants you to give enemas, adjust IVs, deal with catheters, oxygen, give medicines,  or change dressings, but family can often do well with grooming and possibly bathroom assistance.  Please check with staff first and don’t attempt anything you aren’t sure of.  Also, if they are in a general room, it is good to stay with them if there is any chance they are confused or on pain medicine.  I never leave my family unattended if I have any doubts they might need me, unless of course, the staff tells you otherwise.  Nurse Who Advocates for Patients

Dear Nurse, I agree with you !00%.  Most hospital staff is knocking themselves out to do their best.  It is best to be available for your patient.  Auntie Linda

12 thoughts on “Ask Auntie Linda, October 14, 2015

  1. Great reply on both of these. The writer of the second question makes a few excellent points but there is another reason for families to be attentive if a loved one is in the hospital. Patients who have family watching over them get better care. This goes double if a family member is in a psychiatric facility.

    While psychiatric hospitals have different rules about visitors it is important to visit daily, make contact with the nurses and doctors, be available to provide information that the patient may not be able to give, and to advocate for longer stays as psychiatric facilities frequently discharge patients much too early. Patients always fare better when family is involved.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Josh Wrenn says:

    On your second letter, even thought I perfectly knew how to assist Hannah to the bathroom, the nurses on one of the floors would not let me. They would require a nurse to come in, and never get there in time, so I’d do it anyway. I had to call the hospital administrators and tell them I would waive liability to assist her, and they relented, but new nurses to the floor didn’t get the message and I would get harassed. Only a couple understood.

    Liked by 1 person

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