This past weekend the beginning stages have taken place for a new foundation called Helping Henry. The grassroots group’s goals are to help patient families within the first days of dealing with a patient in ICU.
Those first days are a critical time for all involved. Trying to install a positive outlook while keeping the facts and possible negative realities is a very thin line. What has been observed though from my own eyes is a positive outlook by family and friends helps the patient overcome insurmountable odds. This the idea for Helping Henry was born.
The time my family spent pacing the floor in the ICU waiting room we observed how the patients whose families remained positive generally had a fighting chance to make it out of the unit. That can not be said for families with a negative attitude.
Researchers at Duke University have shown that this belief is viable. A study in 1992 of 1,368 heart patients found those without a spouse or confidant were three times more likely to die within five years of diagnosis compared to those with a close friend or spouse. The leader of the study said that “in some cases a support group may be as effective as costly medical treatment.”
While research dollars focus mostly on the different lifesaving techniques family care is often overlooked. That care and the outcome is an uncharted study field.
Sometimes simple observation and common sense though tells the story. If the family can remain positive in the light of severe crisis then it can go on through the periods of recovery easier. If there is a death the family is strong enough to survive it.
The foundation will be a first step in helping families understand that there is hope and that positive energy breeds hope. Simple items; a locker system, blankets, tissues and hand lotion may seem very small in the face of a crisis but they are items that can help the family get on when everything is spiraling out of control.