Acknowledging Family Caregivers

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I/We learned in Fundamentals of Nursing that the family is an extension of the patient. So here’s a reminder: Please acknowledge the ‘family’ caregivers. Look them in the eye, greet them, address them by name when possible, solicit their input, and ask them how they are coping at an appropriate time. When my long-disabled husband was admitted to the hospital several years ago acutely ill, in severe pain, and barely able to move, after doing her initial assessment of him, the nurse turned and looked at me and asked, “And how are YOU doing?” I was stunned by the question as no one had asked me that in a very long time. In fact, I didn’t even know how to answer because all of my focus had been on my husband for so long. When I took a moment to consider a response, my eyes welled up with tears and all I wanted to do was cry. I wasn’t doing well. In fact, I was on the verge of falling apart. But knowing that I was “seen” that day and that someone was concerned for my welfare gave me a moment to get back into my body and acknowledge my own experience in all of this.

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