A 63-year-old patient is admitted for care with chest pain, diaphoresis, and falling blood pressure. The patients family is very upset and anxious and the patients wife refuses to talk to the nurse, saying, I do not want to talk right now! My husband is probably dying! Which action from the nurse best demonstrates the most appropriate method of managing the family's crisis in this situation?


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- Provide as much information as possible at various intervals

- Leave the family members alone; they will talk when they are ready

- Arrange for a psychologist to speak with the family about their concerns

- Ask the patient to speak with his family and tell them about his condition


A crisis situation, particularly when a person's health is failing, can be devastating for both the patient and his family. When a family member is upset, he or she also needs support from the nurse for help with managing feelings associated with the stressful situation. The nurse should not force the family members to talk, but should instead be available if they need someone to discuss the situation with. The nurse should provide as much information as possible so that family will remain informed; instead of giving all of the information at once, the nurse should instead spread it out so it is delivered at various intervals and is not overwhelming.

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