Monday, March 16, 2015

Treating the Family

When I first started my nursing career, children under thirteen years of age and pets were not permitted to visit in the hospital. The separation from their children for the family was often more stressful than the illness itself.
Knowing that a mother or a father was ill and in the hospital, children would imagine the worst things. In their minds, even a minor illness or injury that necessitated the hospitalization of a parent grew to be an enormous and serious issue. The separation expanded into stress filled days and sleepless nights. If they could not see what was actually was happening they imagined the worst. No matter how much reassurance was given to them, there was that chance they were being told a lie.
Now children of any age can be brought into the hospital, even when they are new born babies. This causes me concern. Though you try to explain to parents the dangers of the diseases found in a hospital, some still allow their children to crawl and play on the floors. Our housekeepers do a great job keeping patient rooms clean, once someone walks over that recently mopped floor; it becomes contaminated with germ, bacteria, and viruses once again. I never understood why a parent would allow it.
Pets were definitely taboo in the hospital. Even a “seeing eye dog” caused quite a stir. Many pet owners stressed over their pets while they were confined in the hospital and the pets were going through separation anxiety at home as well.
June was a dog lover. She had a woman who was admitted to the critical care unit and begged her family to let her go home to her dog. She was fretting that her dog wasn’t being cared for and she was not getting the rest she needed to get well. She was in a constant state of agitation. June heard about the woman and decided it was time to make some changes.
June went to the administrators and pleaded the old woman’s case. She finally got permission “if the dog was clean and was up to date on its shots.”
I don’t know who was more overjoyed by the reunion, the patient, her dog, or June. After the visit, the woman’s condition improved considerably and was discharged almost a week later.
June got her policy change. Animals were now permitted if they were clean, up to date on their immunizations, and were quiet.

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