Hi, it’s Patrik Hutzel from intensivecarehotline.com with another quick tip for families in intensive care.
So this week, I was talking to a client and we were actually going to set up a phone meeting with the intensive care team. His mother was in ICU with COVID-19. She was on a ventilator and she was either at the stage where she would have a tracheostomy because she couldn’t come off the ventilator or she would have a one-way extubation that basically would lead her to potentially pass away.
Now there was an advanced care directive for my client’s mom that she wants everything done and she was not for DNR. And with the current crisis, with the COVID crisis, ICUs are experiencing an even higher demand in ICU beds than they usually do, even without COVID-19. ICUs are full all of the time, so it doesn’t really need the coronavirus crisis to experience high demand in ICU beds.
But anyway, in this situation, the client was locked out of ICU, couldn’t visit their mom, and was pretty much kept at arm’s length about treatment and he was very worried that the advanced care directive of his mom was disrespected. And that was exactly the case. His mom passed away without CPR, which again was against the advanced care directive.
So what does that tell you? I mean, ICUs are often going against family’s wishes without family consent withdrawing treatment. And in this situation where you know, ICU beds are in such high demand, it looks like this is even happening on a bigger scale and especially with families being locked out of ICU, the ICU can pretty much do whatever they like and families are kept at arm’s length.
So what’s the answer to this dilemma? The answer is you gotta ask questions very early. You got to make sure that everything is documented very early, that everything is being forwarded to the ICU, advanced care directives, patient statements, you know, that also evidence that you are the medical power of attorney for your loved one. And make sure you contact us to start asking the right questions in ICU so you know what’s actually happening.
The biggest challenge for families in intensive care is simply that you don’t know what you don’t know. And if you don’t ask the right questions, if you don’t know what to look for, and if you don’t know how to manage doctors and nurses, you’d be fighting an uphill battle and you’ll be kept at arm’s length.
So that’s my tip for today. This is Patrik Hutzel from intensivecarehotline.com and I’ll talk to you in a few days.