Monday, January 28, 2019

Patients in a Vegetative (Unresponsive Wakefulness) State: Nurse-Family Research, Video 5:43

Some people are uncomfortable referring to another human being as being in a vegetative state. That is probably why more doctors and neuroscientists prefer to call this state of consciousness an unresponsive wakefulness syndrome. A patient in this state experiences a disorder of consciousness in which severe brain damage is experienced.

About 50% of persons who are in this state one month after traumatic brain injury eventually recover consciousness. They are likely to have a slow course of recovery and usually have some ongoing cognitive and physical impairments and disabilities. In this state, the person is still unconscious, breathing, and able to feel pain.

Family and healthcare caregivers have important roles to play with these patients, especially when the patient is allowed to go home. In this research study on nurses, family caregivers and vegetative patients, 14 patients and caregivers participated. Data were gathered using face-to-face in-depth interviews at discharge time and during home care, helping families in providing care, and supporting them during care process.
Research concluded that nurses can play an effective role in improving the caregivers' well-being by considering the importance of training at discharge time and during home care, helping families in providing care, and support during the care process.

This video shares the story of Juan Torres, who was declared to be in a permanent unresponsive wakefulness syndrome state. What makes his story so special is that he surprised everyone one day and woke up. He even remembered what had happened while he was not awake.

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.

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