Advocacy for Non-Responsive Patient

Andrew, a 17-year-old, is a talented baseball player. He plays 3rd base for a local high school and has a great batting average.  Because Andrew is so accomplished, he is hoping for a full athletic scholarship to the state university. He plans to pursue a degree in engineering or computer science.  He is the oldest of three children. He is active in his church and community. His father works two part-time jobs and his mother is unemployed.

Today Andrew is practicing with the high school baseball team. A baseball hits him in his head. He falls to the ground and becomes non-responsive.

The baseball coach calls an ambulance and Andrew is taken to the local emergency room. In the emergency room, Andrew is non-responsive and his breathing is labored necessitating intubation.  He has a large laceration on his back because of the fall. He is stabilized and transferred to the medical intensive care unit (MICU). The hospitalist managing the MICU admits Andrew and immediately orders an interprofessional care team consultation.

Address of the following question regarding this case and provide evidence to support it from our course materials or outside readings in your main posts. Respond to one or more other student’s main post.

  1. Andrew’s family is having a great deal of difficulty dealing with Andrew’s condition. They are told that he needs further tests. One is to determine whether his brain is still functioning. As you apply the principles of patient advocacy keep in mind Andrew’s outcome could be good or not so good and the family is struggling. How would you use advocacy in this situation for Andrew family friends and care providers?

Advocacy for Non-Responsive Patient

As a healthcare professional, it is crucial to prioritize patient advocacy in situations like Andrew’s, where the patient is unable to communicate and the family is struggling to cope with the situation. The principles of patient advocacy require that the healthcare provider takes a holistic approach to care, which includes empathizing with the patient and their family, communicating effectively, and ensuring that the patient receives the best possible care.

In Andrew’s case, the first step in advocating for him and his family is to provide emotional support. The family is likely to be in shock and struggling to come to terms with Andrew’s condition. The healthcare provider can help them by providing emotional support, encouraging them to express their feelings and concerns, and answering their questions. It is essential to communicate effectively and use lay language to explain the tests that Andrew needs and the reasons behind them. The healthcare provider should be available to the family to address their concerns and provide regular updates on Andrew’s condition.

In addition to emotional support, the healthcare provider can advocate for Andrew by ensuring that he receives the best possible care. The healthcare team should prioritize Andrew’s comfort, ensuring that he is pain-free, and his breathing is adequately supported. They should also carry out the necessary tests promptly and communicate the results to the family. The healthcare provider should work with the interprofessional care team to ensure that Andrew’s needs are met holistically. For instance, a social worker can help the family cope with the financial burden of Andrew’s treatment, and a chaplain can provide spiritual support.

Furthermore, the healthcare provider can advocate for Andrew by involving him in the decision-making process. Although Andrew is non-responsive, the healthcare provider can engage his family in discussions about his care plan. By involving the family, they will feel that they are part of the care team, and it can help to reduce their anxiety.

In conclusion, patient advocacy is crucial in situations like Andrew’s, where the patient is unable to communicate, and the family is struggling to cope. The healthcare provider should prioritize emotional support, effective communication, and holistic care to advocate for the patient and their family. By working collaboratively with the interprofessional care team and involving the family in the decision-making process, the healthcare provider can ensure that Andrew receives the best possible care.

Reference: Zerwekh, J., & Garneau, A. (2018). Nursing today: transition and trends (9th ed.). Elsevier.

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