Poziurio I Pacienta Intensyviosios Terapijos Skyriuje Transformacijos Savitumai
Medicina (Kaunas, Lithuania) 2010; 46 Suppl 1: 8-15
The transformation from the early to late modernity initiated in the Western societies has touched the medicine and entered Lithuania as well. Changes affect not only human values, but also attitude toward a patient. A patient is seen more as a person with social needs until the end of his/her life. It is especially difficult to retain such attitude to the patient in intensive care units. Studies conducted abroad report the importance of the contacts and support of the relatives to the patients in intensive care units. Attention from the medical personnel, easy understandable information, liberal visiting--all together increase the satisfaction and confidence with medical care provided. In Lithuania, the above-mentioned attitude toward patients is still not common. The objective of this study was to reveal the important aspects of the transformation of attitude to the patient and his/her social environment by analyzing the possibilities of social interactions in an intensive care unit. METHODS: The study employed an ethnomethodological qualitative approach with semi-structured interviews; participatory observations in an intensive care unit; self-analysis and qualitative content analysis; two nurses and four relatives of the patients at the intensive care unit were interviewed. Six relatives refused to give interviews. The results showed that the relatives want to stay close to the patients in an intensive care unit, even though this causes very strong emotional feelings. The relatives of the patients understand the visiting as a possibility for "silent communication," support, maintaining human relationships and in the same way reducing their own worries. The relatives expect support from medical staff. Nursing personnel do not comprehend the meaning of such behavior of the relatives and usually treat the relatives as an additional stress factor. CONCLUSIONS: The relationship between the medical personnel and the patients is restricted to instrumental communication, which is a feature of the early modernity. The process of attitude transformation, common in the Western countries, when a patient is treated not only as biological but also as a social person, is only at the initial stage in Lithuania.
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