Patient Attitude in Critical Illnesses

critical illness

During critical illnesses patient is usually unable to communicate well to the doctor due to agony, associated anxiety and ongoing clinical assessment in the hospital. However, it is the patients; attendants or relatives that are often found impatient and anxious while bringing to the hospital. Majority of the times they hate any waiting time, keep vigil on staff movement, and keep enquiring with several members of the health team. Sometimes it leads to even heated argument with the staff or physician as they do not get any information about the severity of the disease and thus priority of care. The medical staff rushing in busy corridors of the hospital may not pay adequate attention to the just arrived patient which could put off the relatives and thus jeopardize further communication with the doctor. Th only worry shown by the relatives in such cases is the period of recovery and any complication to the patient that could arise as a result of this critical illness.                

Emergency Visits for Minor Ailments:

The number of patients attending emergency department is increasing stress to the healthcare team. It is frustrating to attend the patient with minor ailment who could have seen by a general practitioner or outside the hospital settings. Mostly these patients do not intend to visit the emergency but difficulty in getting appointment with their doctor makes them to do so. These patients are often highly tensed and anxious and want to seek consultation the same day. Additionally, few patients feel more secured once they undergo various routine testing procedures in the emergency department. Needless to say, all patients must receive best medical care which can be perceived optimum by the attendant. Also the patients must be convinced that he is receiving the best treatment. It is quite evident that people act more in reliance with their perception than the logic or truth. The perception in human mind draws a practical limit to his understanding. On the doctor end, an attempt is made to please the patient skillfully besides prescribing him right medicines. The patient usually comes with a mental image of the doctor that not only expect to take care of him gently but also about look and communication by the doctor. In case doctor does not fit into his criteria of mental image, he often become impatient. The doctor may not have insight on his own behavior or temperament that label them as arrogant, rude, and indifferent by the patient.

Another situation where the patient and his relatives lose their patience is announcing to admit in an Intensive care (ICU). This appears very disturbing and a sort of panic situation is observed around the hospital. The perception of ICU is often associated with life threatening conditions or worst a commercial gain by the center. Not uncommonly people have been found resenting their patient shifting to the intensive ward. In such situations treating (counseling) relatives is as important as the patient.

In such cases, well thought communication by the doctor can provide great satisfaction to the persons and calm their mind for a better outcome. A warm touch to the patient may work like a healer to his ongoing discomfort. Also doctor should treat anxious relatives as well during initial phase of his discussion. The unusual high anxiety among relatives become a major set back in the overall management of the patient. Detailing to patient’s relative often is cumbersome, and time-consuming exercise. Not uncommonly the statement by the relative may seem irrelevant and unjustified to the case but a sympathetic view may help to calm their feelings.                   

Once patient is shifted to the ICU, healthcare team is bombarded with endless questions by the attendants about his well-being. The highly educated people even try to understand the technical jargons used by the attending doctors. The doctor occasionally tries to reply such questions but beyond a limit it becomes a challenge to make them understand. Failure to explain as per the expectation of the relatives become a great source of dissatisfaction and annoyance. It is important for the healthcare team to be careful while discussing the case among them to avoid any such query that is to early to answer.              

 After recovery from a critical illness, the follow up is equally important. Any oversight in the follow up of patient would completely wash away the efforts done by doctors who spent several sleepless nights for recovery of that patient. In fact, patient during his recovery phase wants more attention and sympathy from the doctor or even his relatives. There is no realization of priorities based on severity of cases admitted in the ward. A crucial point for healthcare team is to avoid any neglect of such follow up cases. Some time a brief silent follow up by the doctor does not satisfy the patient and he wants assurance of his continued well being or no further relapse. Not uncommonly experienced by the doctors at the end of treatment, patients and relatives may feel that a better treatment or approach to medical care could have been given while he was admitted.