What About Popeyes?
One of the most important things I’ve learned as a nurse is that the education of the family is often just as important, or MORE so, than the education of the patient. The patient is sick, and is often distracted by pain, fear, or other anxieties. The family is more capable of retaining the information presented by a nurse or doctor since they are focused (most of the time) on the patient’s healing process, and doing everything they can to encourage the process.
Although family can be quite bossy to the hapless patient sometimes!
(Resulting in the patient looking at me with a silent pleading stare to be rescued so he/she could rest!)
I had an older, rather large female patient here in the southern USA that I was educating many years ago on reducing her cholesterol and fat in her diet. If you know anything about the southern USA, you know that fried chicken is practically a staple food for many people, but fried chicken is by no means healthy. Apparently this patient and family were all frequent chicken eaters!
The woman’s granddaughter, who I believe was in her late teens at the time, sat in on the education session. After emphasizing that fried chicken was not recommended for the patient to eat on a regular basis, the granddaughter began questioning me.
G’daughter: “What about Church’s chicken?” (a fast-food fried chicken restaurant)
Me: “No, that’s fried chicken.”
G’daughter: “What about Chick-fil-A biscuits?” (another fast-food chicken restaurant)
Me: “The chicken in the biscuits is fried too.”
G’daughter: “Well, we’ll just have to get Popeyes then. What about Popeyes?” (another fast-food fried chicken restaurant)
Me: “Well, think about it. Is the chicken fried there?”
G’daughter: “Uh, yeah, no…um, I don’t know.”
Me: (inward sigh)
This conversation highlights the importance of educating the family (regardless of the age) that will be responsible for any part of the patient’s care, down to getting the food to feed the patient. If the family caring for the patient is too young to understand care instructions, social services should definitely explore other care options such as home health, until the patient can largely care for themselves. If you neglect to educate the family, the patient will likely just go along with whatever care is given them, and not wish to dictate doctor’s instructions…often putting their health right back where it was!
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