bannerHON
img
HONnews
HONnews
img PATIENT / PARTICULIER img PROFESSIONNEL DE SANTE img WEBMESTRE img
img
 
img
HONcode sites
Khresmoi - new !
HONselect
News
Conferences
Images

Themes:
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q
R S T U V W X Y Z
Browse archive:
2018: S A J J M A M F J
2017: D N O S

 
  Other news for:
Hospitals
Mental Health
Stress
 Resources from HONselect
Stress Is Tough on Medical 'Surrogates' When a Loved One Is Ill

By Mary Elizabeth Dallas

FRIDAY, Jan. 5, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- When seriously ill hospital patients can't express their wishes about their medical care, decision-making often falls to emotionally drained family members.

Anxiety and depression are common for these surrogate decision members, say researchers from the Indiana University Center for Aging Research and the Regenstrief Institute.

But they concluded that support from hospital staff can ease their distress and help them make better treatment decisions.

"As the population ages and more and more family members are thrust into the role of surrogate decision makers, appropriately supporting these family members will become a public health imperative," said study corresponding author Dr. Alexia Torke. She's associate director of the Center for Aging Research.

The researchers examined the experiences of 364 older patients and their medical surrogate at a total of three hospitals. Patients were an average age of 82. The surrogates' average age was 58. Two-thirds of the surrogates were adult children. Seventeen percent of the surrogates were the patient's spouse.

Up to 15 percent of the medical surrogates suffered from high levels of anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress, the researchers found.

These effects were observed six to eight weeks after a patient was hospitalized. In some cases, this stress resolved once the initial serious phase of treatment ended. But for more than 1 in 10 surrogates, distress levels remained high.

However, when family members believed doctors, nurses and other hospital staff were listening to their questions and concerns, they felt they were able to make effective medical decisions.

Feeling heard, the study showed, was more important to the medical surrogates than receiving highly detailed information about their loved ones' treatment plan.

"Family decision makers face emotional, ethical and communication challenges that differ from personal decision making," Torke said in an institute news release.

"It is not enough to provide good information; family members also need emotional support when making difficult decisions," said Torke.

The stuy can't prove cause and effect. Still, emotional support for family members making key medical decisions might not only improve their psychological wellbeing but also improve outcomes among patients, the researchers suggested.

"Information without emotional support may be harmful to surrogates," Torke said. "Physicians, nurses, chaplains and social workers can provide emotional support to family members. This study points to the fact that this support is very important."

The study was published online recently in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

More information

The New York State Department of Health provides more on making medical decisions for loved ones.

SOURCE: Regenstrief Institute, news release, December 2017

Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved. URL:http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=729113

Resources from HONselect: HONselect is the HON's medical search engine. It retrieves scientific articles, images, conferences and web sites on the selected subject.
Family
Research Personnel
Therapeutics
Anxiety
Depression
Nurses
Mental Health
Adult
The list of medical terms above are retrieved automatically from the article.

Disclaimer: The text presented on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice. It is for your information only and may not represent your true individual medical situation. Do not hesitate to consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified healthcare professional.
Be advised that HealthDay articles are derived from various sources and may not reflect your own country regulations. The Health On the Net Foundation does not endorse opinions, products, or services that may appear in HealthDay articles.


Home img About us img MediaCorner img HON newsletter img Site map img Ethical policies img Contact