How to Navigate Intensive Care After a Loved One Is Hurt
Posted on behalf of RizkLaw on May 18, 2022 in Personal Injury
Someone you love has been injured in an accident and is admitted into the intensive care unit (ICU). Among the endless beeping and icy glow of the monitors, you carefully observe the person you care about so deeply. Nurses and doctors intermittently appear, disappear, and reappear around you as you try to process the scene.
Analyzing the tangles of wires and strange contraptions hooked up to your loved one, all you want is to run far away from this cold hospital and return home with them, happy and healthy again. Unfortunately, you know that they need to remain in the ICU to receive the treatment they so desperately need. So, you ask yourself, what can you do to help your loved one get through this?
Tips for Advocating for a Loved One While They Are in the ICU
When someone you love is in the ICU, there is a good chance you are being overwhelmed with information that you may not comprehend. If you do not have a background in medicine, medical jargon is tough to understand during normal times, let alone when you are in such an emotional state.
During these stressful times, make sure you are retaining essential medical information about your loved one by:
- Writing everything down: You can refer to the information later and fully absorb what you are reading.
- Having someone with you: A second set of ears is always valuable for ensuring you receive all critical information.
- Keeping an open line of communication with your nurse: They act as patient advocates and can help make sure your loved one’s wishes are respected.
- Avoiding the internet: Bursting with misinformation, contradicting information, and worst-case scenarios, sometimes the world wide web is more harmful than it is useful.
Although frequent updates are crucial to understanding how your loved one is progressing while in the ICU, many families end up receiving mixed messages about the state of their loved one’s health. To clarify communication, multi-disciplinary family meetings may be held.
Multi-disciplinary family meetings bring together all of a patient’s doctors, nurses, social workers, and other team members to discuss their status with their family members. All family members are given the opportunity to ask questions and clarify any medical jargon they may not understand.
What You Can Do to Help Someone You Love in the ICU
Lying in a hospital bed day in and day out is uncomfortable. Add in all of the tubes, procedures, and injuries, and things become even more painful. To combat pain and improve quality of life while in the ICU, many patients receive incremental or continuous medication for pain relief or sedation. If your loved one in the ICU ever appears or indicates that they are uncomfortable or unable to get the sleep they need, do not hesitate to act as their voice. Speak up to a nurse or doctor and advocate for the person you love, especially if they are unable to do so themselves.
The importance of sleep cannot be stressed enough. Sleep becomes even more essential when your body is trying to recover from a severe injury. Still, as important as sleep is to ICU patients, it is just as important for their family members. It’s all too easy to let your own health slip onto the back burner when someone you love is in critical condition, but family members cannot provide the quality-of-care their loved ones need if they do not first care for themselves.
If you are going home for the night, communicate with a nurse and provide them with your phone number so they can contact you if there are any changes. There is nothing wrong with looking after yourself. Time alone will not just allow you to refresh and recuperate, but the patient as well. Sometimes, if the patient is awake, they may feel obligated to entertain you or put on a happy face while you are visiting them, and giving them time alone could help them relax.
Is Your Loved One in the ICU for an Injury That Was Someone Else’s Fault?
Having someone you love in the ICU is not just emotionally draining but also financially draining. Those who are fortunate enough to return home after an ICU stay often have to undergo extensive outpatient care or physical therapy, racking up thousands of dollars in medical bills. Family members who lose loved ones in the ICU also typically have to endure financial hardship, including funeral expenses and loss of income.
If you have a loved one who received intensive care because of an accident that was another party’s fault, you could be entitled to compensation. Contact a Rizk Law personal injury attorney to discuss your case today. Schedule your free consultation by calling (503) 245-5677 or completing our contact form.