The Psychosocial Needs of Families During Hospitalizations

Individuals suffering from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or an acquired brain injury have undergone a transformation in their lives that is undoubtedly stressful and oftentimes very scary.
While their experiences shouldn’t be downplayed, the psychosocial needs of the families whose loved ones have been hospitalized after experiencing a brain injury often fall by the wayside.

Angela Sandoval, BSN, RN, a charge nurse at Nexus Specialty Hospital, engages with patient families more often than most people on the medical staff. Through her day-to-day interactions with patients and their families, she’s able to shed some light on their typical mental and emotional needs as they stay by their loved one’s side.

“What we need to remember is that families are in a really tough crisis situation when they come to our hospital,” Angela said. “They’re experiencing a life-altering event that’s changed the course of their everyday lives, and they don’t have the same support or a designated care team like their loved one does.” Often, family members find themselves tired, worried, and unable to work due to their loved one’s health crisis.

Nurses play an important role in caring for families in these times of crisis, as they represent the best interests of their patients as well as act as liaisons between families and members of a patient’s care team. “We pay attention to the needs of the patients as well as the families while they’re at our facility,” said Angela. “We check in regularly with them and make sure they have what they need, provide teaching, and coordinate calls between them and the physicians, case manager, and the patients themselves.”

If it becomes clear that a patient needs to stay at the facility long-term, Nexus Specialty Hospital does everything in their power, within reason, to make sure the families are well taken care of. “We let them stay at the facility and set up meal plans for them. We accommodate them as much as possible and treat them as our guests, as long as those accommodations don’t supersede the needs of the patient.”

Of course, it can often be difficult to soothe families who are dealing with a significant crisis. “Having to meet the family where they are in that moment is especially hard,” Angela explained. “They’re just trying to put the pieces of their lives back together and figure out how to adapt and move forward. It takes a lot of patience and understanding, but this work can be extremely rewarding.”

Nexus Specialty Hospital is dedicated to focusing on both patients and families for the duration of their stay at the facility, and the staff is prepared to provide care to each individual that comes through the doors. “While the patient’s needs are extremely important, it’s also important to be reminded of what the families have to go through. This is an exhausting, painful process, and it’s our job to be present and helpful in any way possible,” said Angela.

To learn more about the services that Nexus Specialty Hospital provides for its patients, click here.