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Toni Talks about PT Today

Well-Meaning Relatives

Published December 5, 2013 12:27 PM by Toni Patt

The first thing I heard when I got to work Monday morning were tales of the well-meaning relatives. We all know the type. They try to help but only make things worse. Or, with the patient's best interest in mind, they interfere with just about everything we try to do. In this case, it was a daughter who hadn't visited all week.

Like many people, she has a full-time job and can't miss work. The rest of the family has kept her informed and sent videos of the patient's progress including her first steps. The daughter spent the weekend with her mother. By Monday, nursing was ready to permanently bar her from the building.

For example, the patient wanted to use the BSC. Previously she had done so once with therapy. Both the OT and I explained several times that sitting on the BSC isn't therapy. Until she was safe with the transfer, she was going to have to use the bedpan. Everyone was happy when I left Friday. The daughter, who learned how to be manipulative from her mother, demanded that mom be placed on the BSC. And she continued to demand it, even when the transfer required three nurses and someone to stand with her mother while using it to prevent a fall.

The patient complained about her diet. She is just transitioning to solid food from a PEG. The daughter demanded a different diet for her mom. She demanded different foods that her mother preferred. She called the kitchen. She called dietary. Fortunately it was the weekend, so no one answered.

The patient complained her wheelchair was uncomfortable. The daughter demanded a different one. Apparently nursing searched the entire building looking for a different chair. They didn't find one. I'm almost surprised they didn't take one out of someone else's room to pacify the daughter. The patient is in a high-back wheelchair because she doesn't tolerate erect sitting for long periods of time. That could have been a disaster.

I truly believe the daughter thought she was trying to help her mom. She was trying to address the complaints. She didn't realize that everything being complained about had already been addressed several times and arose from specific therapeutic needs. The daughter had already left when I arrived. I would have liked to hear what she had to say.

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