Few medical procedures performed in a hospital come without apprehension for our patients. Hospitals, in and of themselves, can cause anxiety. As a healthcare provider, the sights, sounds, and smells of a hospital are routine for us. However, it seems the only time we acknowledge the foreign and scary environment of a hospital, is when we work on a pediatric unit or floor. We’ll prepare a young child for a procedure, such as blood draw, knowing the anxiety caused. We’ll comfort a child coming out of surgery by making sure their parents are at the bedside when they wake up.
Many times, we expect adults to cope with the hospital environment, but if it’s their first visit to hospital, in some respects, they're just like a child. The unfamiliar hospital environment, painful procedures, isolation from family and friends can all overwhelm an adult patient. Many of the practices we typically use in pediatric realm can help to ease the pain and anxiety experienced by the adult population. Applying these principles to trauma, we need to remember what a parent sees can cause just as much trauma and emotional distress for them as it can for a child.
Do you think doctors and nurses should treat adult patients with “kid gloves”?