I remember working in a closed-unit ICU. The unit was closed for a certain number of hours each day.
It was the designated time for ‘Patient Recovery’…
And of course it was a chance for the nursing staff to play catch up from all the things we couldn’t finish because families were at the bedside.
Don’t get me wrong. Having families at the bedside is a key ingredient to a patient’s recovery from an illness. The love and emotional support the patient receives is equally as important as the medication and interventions they are receiving from the health care team.
But too much of a good thing…
Sometimes families can be a bit too much. They can be a bit overbearing. They can be a bit suffocating. And quite honestly can over stress the patient.
What starts out as good-intended love and support can turn into energy draining and stress-induced social activity. Instead of helping them work hard to get better, the patient gets over worked, over stressed and anxious. Their anxiety starts a stress-induced chain of events that actually can make a patient worse. Something that actually can prolong their length of stay and overall time of recovery.
When a nurse tells a family to step away, it’s done out of advocacy for our patient.
The patient needs to rest just as much as they need to participate in their care.
Recovering from any illness in the ICU can be exhaustive.
Sometimes a patient just needs left alone….