One of my patients was put on comfort care today, about 2 hrs before my shift started. They had called RRT on her for non-responsiveness and trouble breathing. When I got her, she was on the CPAP and pretty much nothing else.
I tried to be as comforting and supportive to the family as possible. I think I was doing a pretty good job of it.
Until ED started wanting to send people up, and we had no nurses to take them. Since comfort care doesn't require tele monitoring, she was to be moved to the next unit over.
The family was *not* happy.
I apologized profusely, and tried to explain that I was needed to take a patient who required monitoring. Really, there's no good/nice/easy way of saying "We need you out so someone else can come in." No matter how lightly you try to put it, you sound like an asshole.
So I asked the family to try to get their things together, as there were a lot of them there with a lot of stuff.
I saw the bedside table get shoved angrily out the door into the hall. There were a lot of reddened eyes and scowls. I assured them that the transfer would be quick and painless. One of the sons was concerned about her breathing, so I hooked her up to the portable O2.
Things were not made better when we got to her new room and there was no O2 hookup in the wall. I had to run down the hallway and steal one from an empty room. More glares.
I tried the best I could, and still felt like a jerk. I hate feeling like I have no control. I tried to ignore the guilty feeling so I could continue with my shift.
Then about an hour or so later, the two sons came to the unit looking for me.
They apologized for being so harsh. It really made my day, because I was not looking forward to trying to sleep tonight with a guilty feeling.
I hope all goes well for them, and that the patient's transition is peaceful.