Tuesday, January 5, 2010

What do you talk about?

We go to pick up our first patient of the day. Being discharged from the local hospital after a little fall earlier this morning. Ended up with a fractured wrist, but nothing that won't heal. We get all our paperwork, look it over, ask a bunch of questions, and off we go. The patient was very insistent that her husband and son were somewhere in the hospital and we couldn't leave without them. Then her focus turned to locating her purse that she swore she brought with her. Five minutes later the only thing she could think about was where she put her lipstick. As we're driving she keeps asking us to pull over and turn around because she wants to go to her sister's house because that's where she lives. It was an interesting drive. Well, we arrive at the nursing home, bring her to her floor, and get her settled in her bed. It was quite the ordeal. Then on our way out the LPN decides to say, "You do know that she is a droplet risk, right?" Uhm... no. No, we did not know that. The hospital did not divulge that information to us, as apparently it was too early in the morning for them and they didn't obtain all the paperwork they needed when she came in to begin with. TB... E. Coli in the sputum... Anyone?

The last patient I had today was great. We walk in to pick her up and she tells us that it was about time we showed up since she'd been waiting three hours. I look at my partner, who happens to be another newer kid, and I can see the brief look of panic on his face. Until he looks back at our patient to find her laughing. She kept coming up with witty remarks, and was just a hoot. As we're pulling into the driveway at our destination I ask her about her Christmas and New Years. She immediately started crying. It was like as soon as the words escaped my lips the tears started flowing.

I'm never quite sure what to talk about with patients. I know that families and holidays can be touchy subjects for people. But you never know how they'll react, so do you just avoid them altogether?

What do you talk about with your patients?

1 comment:

Dani said...

Since I work Ortho I always ask th omnious 'what happened?' Generally you'll get a boring 'arthitis' answer or you'll get a really fun story including fireworks and motorcycles. Either way that breaks the ice.
During my shift if my patient mentions anyting about family I always ask about that. I'll push a grandmother to brag about her grandkids, and mothers to spill the good stuff about their kids.

It seems to help to talk to them- you build a much better bond and are remembered better later on.