Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The one lie nurses will tell

We've had a string of deaths on the unit, majority of them are our DNR's and palliative pt's and surprisingly I'm still a virgin (meaning none of these ppl have died while they're in my care) and tonight when I went to work I found out that one of my pt's I had Saturday night had passed.

I was surprised and when the nurse who had the pt came onto shift I asked about the details. While talking with him we talked about how he informed the family. Another nurse was in the room when I brought this up and gave this piece of advice...

If a family member wants to know if anyone was there when they died, tell them YES - EVEN IF THAT MEANS YOU HAVE TO LIE!!! NEVER EVER tell them that they died alone. Hell, make up a story if you want to, but never tell them they died alone... it's like the #1 fear that family members have when their family member's in the hospital.

Well sure enough, we had a sudden death on our unit tonight.... and what ONE question did that family member have?! Yep, "did he die alone". Thankfully we could answer this one truthfully because she had like 4-5 nurses around her when she took her last breath.

Moral of the story - ALWAYS tell a family member that someone was there when they took their last breath, never leave them with guilt that they couldn't be there when they died. At least the family will take comfort in knowing that at least SOMEONE was around, even if that isn't the truth.

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