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Support from Family and Friends

Seniors at Home:  The Value of Support from Family and Friends

Rosemary arrives at the emergency department.  She is looking for her friend, but how on earth is she going to find her?  As a senior living at home, she often must navigate unfamiliar territory on her own.  There are a lot of people wearing hospital uniforms, but they are walking fast and looking busy.  Rosemary sits in the waiting room for a while to see what happens.  A very nice looking young man in a police uniform or maybe a security uniform, walks by and she asks him how to find her friend in the emergency room.  He directs her to the triage booth, but they are busy so they ask her to sit down.  Rosemary gets her turn and insists to the staff she is not sick but wants to see her friend.  They call Georgia’s nurse and Rosemary is walked back to see her.  Rosemary enters Georgia’s room to find it empty, the nurse states that Georgia is in x-ray right now and will be back in about 20 minutes.  The nurse invites Rosemary to have a seat in the room to wait for her.

Rosemary sits on a very hard, cold folding chair, watching television in the room.  Rosemary cannot figure out how to change the channel and is too short to reach the television on the wall, so she watches a sport fishing program.  Georgia is wheeled back into the room and starts to cry when she sees Rosemary.  Rosemary is concerned, but Georgia states that she is so happy to see her and she is not in too much pain as long as she does not try to move her leg.  Rosemary suspects that Georgia is trying to be strong for her.

Support from Friends and Neighbors

Family members and adult children of seniors do not always live close by.  Seniors living at home often rely on friends and neighbors for support in the event of a crisis until family members can arrive.

Rosemary is a close friend to Georgia and although Rosemary does not make medical decisions for Georgia, she is there to provide company and support for Georgia.  If a patient arrives in the emergency room unconscious the presence of friends, family, and neighbors can assist the staff in innumerable ways.  Friends and family provide medical personnel with information such as medical history, medications, and background information about the patient.  Being present with a friend or family member in the hospital also provides a second set of ears for the multitude of information that is passed to the patient.  It is a lot to take in when the patient is under stress, in pain, or if they have received pain medications that may alter their ability to think clearly.



Comments (0) • Posted April 11, 2011

Author: Julie L., BS, BSN, RN
Julie has worked as a Registered Nurse in the emergency room, as a clinical nursing instructor, and as a director of clinical services in home care.

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