Friday, March 24, 2006

Your Truth: "I Want to Call My Wife."

Today I'm bringing back my old feature - the "Your Truth" series. For those of you new to my site... In this post, I will describe a scenario and ask how you would proceed.

Mr. Jameson is an 89 year-old man with congestive heart failure. He is on your palliative care unit or in your hospice for end-of-life care.

You are the day nurse coming onto shift. The night nurse tells you that during her shift, Mr. Jameson had woken up at 2am, asking to call his wife. She tells you that she had explained to him that it was the middle of the night and that he could call in the morning. She asks you to help him make the call this morning.

After report, you go to Mr. Jameson's room. You discover he is actively dying, and in fact within minutes of death. You use the phone at the bedside to call his wife, but she doesn't answer, because she is probably on her way to the hospital for her regular morning visit. You stay at the bedside with Mr. Jameson for the next few minutes and are present with him as he dies.

You find a colleague to process what has just happened. She asks, "Are you going to tell his wife that he wanted to call but that we didn't help him to make that phone call?"

What do you tell your colleague and what do you do?

As usual, please share your thoughts and then I will share what I have done in a similar circumstance.

See part 2.

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