In our work, there are many occasions that we must establish communication with the patient’s family, in order to inform about the future care of the patient or to assess the status.
Surely, many of us have could observe and even participate in an ineffective communication with families, in many occasions fruit of them prejudices and interpretations performed by professionals about their own beliefs or values on the family.
We don´t be aware of it, or sometimes we are: hours of waiting, pain, hospitalization, hygiene… are factors and situations that increase the stress for the patient and the family. And normally we solve the problems with the patient, as an isolated problem from the family, which is wrong. We must conceive the patient as being within a group. Even normally complaints shall be transmitted by the family and not by the patient.
How many times have we endured complaints from relatives? How many times have we felt annoyed by the family?
And… How many times have we tried not to judge them by our beliefs and values? How many times have we empathize with that family member that has been sleeping for days in a chair accompanying the patient?.
Family is not a visitor. It is much more. And they are part of the patient´s experience.
We work with a daily contact with patients and their families, and if we learn to deal with the side effects involved the hospitalization with the family, we will achieve an outcome more positive.
A representative example, is which can happen in any Hospitalization ward where a patient who bears a few days hospitalized and always is acoompanied by the same family member. In those first days the family member can be receptive, collaborator and even will be patient. However, after the days, the situation of stress, overwhelmed e impotence will exacerbate the tiredness of the family member and because of this, possible complaints or inconvents towars healthcare providers.
We must give and show empathy, active listening, respect and tolerance to the patient and the family, including families in the process of illness of the patient. So we will succeed in improving the health of the patient and in consequence, establish effective communication with all of them.
Carlos Martorell Campins (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Emergency Medical Technician and Nursing student.