Managing Pain in Family Members

16 Mar

I just feel so terrible.

I feel so “unethical”.

I had a patient this week, a man with cancer everywhere recovering from palliative surgery who was admitted to telemetry for blood pressure control with IV medications.

There was a note on the chart that said, “Please medicate the patient with pain medications around the clock per families request” because the “patient will not ask for it”

OK the patient does not appear to be in any pain. The patient did not verbalize any pain. The patient denies having pain and is resting comfortably.

Then…the family arrives and storms to the nurses station and demands to know when the last time the patient was medicated for pain which was over twelve hours ago.

They flipped out on me and now I feel disgusted with myself because it just does not seem right and only added to the patients confusion. Next time I am going to stand firm against these types, but the patient did verbalize pain after the daughter coaxed him by asking over and over again till the patient finally broke down and aggreed with them. err.

I tried to educate the family that pain medication is given as needed, not because you want to feel that you can control me and therefore control the decline of your loved one.

I guess me medicating the patient with pain medication was really medicating their emotional pain.

The one family member in particular was just so nasty to me!! And yet every time the patient needed hygiene care, such as changing the linens, changing his pads, they ran out of the room super fast.

2 Responses to “Managing Pain in Family Members”

  1. David from Houston March 17, 2009 at 03:11 #

    People are at their worst when they are stressed. “I guess me medicating the patient with pain medication was really medicating their emotional pain.” is exactly right.

    Although the patient seems to be comfortable now, there may have been an incident of untreated pain that has the family hyper-sensitive. The next time you see a family member, and the situation is more calm you might ask. Identifying what has caused such a deep concern can give you an opportunity to turn things around.

    Beyond that it sucks when someone grounds out their emotions on you.

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