Families can play a wonderful role in a patient's recovery and then there are families that become too involved in care. Years ago, I had given my phone number to a family member. The daughter was there every day for therapy and we had seen remarkable recovery after her father's stroke. Then the phone calls became more critical of the recovery process and the complaints began about nursing, other therapists and everything in general. My phone number was changed and I did not treat the gentleman again. Giving my number out was a mistake but to find me is pretty easy; I am usually in the phone book.
In an acute-care hospital, I had walked ("ambu-dragged") a young man about 50 feet while his mother was present. She was ecstatic that her son had "walked" after a head injury. She had been told it would take years of recovery for him to accomplish this. He stepped only when properly weight-shifted and he did bear weight through the FWW but that was about the extent of his functional capability. I wonder if I gave the family some false hope about recovery and what he was actually able to do. It's like Raimiste's phenomenon; when elicited while family is present it can create a whole buzz about how much movement the patient has. It can also create problems when the family has overly high expectations about what we can do as therapists.
Families can also interpret what we say in a variety of ways. Some will hear that their family member is recovering appropriately and others will hear that there is no hope and why even try? I guess it is all about perception when it comes to recovery.