In my last two posts, I talked about the 10 things that would make an ICU stay easier for patients, and 10 things not to do. (If you want to read those posts, click on “home”, and then scroll down.)
In this blog post, I’ll talk about 10 Things to tell patients families to make ICU stays easier.
A stay in an ICU means that somebody is sick enough or been injured enough for the family and friends to be worried about death, or the future life of their family member.
The family and friends may be in shock or emotionally distraught.
Extra problems like parking might seem too hard to cope with.
For that reason, here are 10 things to tell ICU Visitors to make the stay easier for themselves and the patients.
1.) Tell visitors where the waiting rooms are.
My mother drove in the ambulance with me, and my brother met her at the hospital doors.
They followed me and my stretcher right into the operating room, before someone told them “This is the OR, you can’t be here”, and gently lead them to a waiting room.
I’m thankful they weren’t just kicked out without anywhere to go.
2.) Tell visitors about parking.
The hospital I was in, has the most confusing parking system ever, with multiple entrances to the parking lot, and a complicated pay before you stay system.
Tell visitors, how the parking system works. If you can get daily, weekly or monthly passes, tell them they are available and where these passes are sold.
3.) Tell visitors about the cafeteria.
Tell them where it is, what the hours are, and who can go there (just staff, staff and visitors).
4.) Tell them to keep an ICU diary, to help their family in the ICU.
When I woke up from sedation, I had no memory of what happened and plenty of questions. I’ve seen tweets about ICU diaries. Tell the families, about this, and give them the option to keep a diary.
5.) Tell visitors to take pictures, but do not post them on the web.
My mother took many pictures of me while I was in the ICU. When I was able, I airdropped them from her phone to my phone. Sometimes when I’m feeling down I look at them. They comfort me because they remind me how far I have come.
6.) Tell visitors about ICU rounds.
What time are they? Can family go and listen? Can family ask questions?
7.) Tell family the ICU visiting hours, if there are any.
8.) Tell the family where they can get information on what the patient has.
Many families will have questions and will turn to the internet for help. Tell families, about good websites about the conditions the patient has. This will cut down on getting lies from the internet.
9.) If you are going to give a timeline of when a person gets better, make it realistic.
My father was told I would be recovered 3 months after discharge. It’s more than 2 years to fully recovered.
It was a disappointment to all of us, when 3 months came by and I was still very sick and week. If I was fully recovered, why was I still so week? Was that what the rest of my life would be like?
10.) Tell families about any support groups in the area or at the hospital.
If your hospital has an ICU support group, tell the families about it. Inform them how to register, and or become involved.
Note: I realize during this Covid19 pandemic, the stress ICU and hospital staff are under might make these things harder to do.
Please take this a suggestions to help, and not finger pointing?
And again thank you for doing what you do.