28-year-old woman with Guillain-Barre syndrome has been intubated and is on mechanical ventilation due to ascending paralysis. She has become increasingly worried and upset as the day has gone on. What would be the best response by the nurse to help the woman cope?

  • “I am going to keep you heavily sedated so you will not have to be scared. When you wake up, you won’t remember ever being sick.”
  • “I know this is overwhelming; this is a very complicated syndrome and it’s too hard for you to understand. Just trust the health care providers.”
  • “I am going to hang a ‘no visitors’ sign on your door. You do not want your family to see you this way.”
  • “I know you are worried, and I am here to answer any questions you have. It is good to have your family here visiting to offer some distraction from being in bed.”
Number 4 is correct.
The nurse should use therapeutic communication to alleviate worry by providing factual information and encouraging distraction and relaxation. Answering any questions honestly and allowing the client to visit with family will help her feel more comfortable. Sedation is not appropriate in this situation. Nurses should not assume patients of sound mind are unable to understand their health status or address them in a patronizing manner.