What is the most appropriate response to a patient that says "I know I'm going to die"?
A. We have special equipment to monitor you and your problem. B. Don t worry. We know what we re doing, and you aren t going to die. C. Why do you think you re going to die? D. Oh no! You re doing quite well considering your condition.
This depends upon whether it is true that the patient is going to die. We are all going to die, some of us sooner than others. If a patient is terminally ill, the doctor will have communicated that and the nurse, if questioned by the patient, should check what the doctor has said. e.g. "Is that what you believe, or is that what doctor has told you?" First establish the facts. It would be a terrible thing to agree if there was any decent chance of a patient recovering.
If a nurse knows very well that the patient is terminally ill, AND that this has already been told him, then a quiet acceptance of the statement is appropriate. In comfort, you can ask if there are any requests that s/he might be able to fulfil. Sometimes, saying nothing but holding the patient's hand in sympathy will be enough. I hope you have training, for you should not have to be working all this out on each occcasion for yourself. Ultimately, look for the positive for patients, allow hope, allow truth and acceptance.
Why do you think you\ re going to die?-rationale: asking the client why he thinks hes going to die is a therapeutic approach that reflects on the clients comments, focusing on his specific words. telling the client that special equipment is available, that the staff knows what to do and not to worry, and that hes doing quite well are nontherapeutic responses. such statements offer false reassurance and ignore the clients needs.client needs category: psychosocial integrityclient needs subcategory: nonecognitive level: applicationreference: craven, r.f., and hirnle, c.j. fundamentals of nursing: human health and function, 5th ed. philadelphia: lippincott williams & wilkins, 2007, p. 377.