Stop! The plan isn’t working as expected.
Sometimes, in spite of our best efforts, the plan we designed for the person in our care, doesn’t work or stops working. When this happens, it is important to reconsider the treatment plan. Otherwise, you’re driving down the wrong road: You can keep driving and driving, but you will never get to where you are going. You need to stop, ask for new directions and then start down a new path.
We may also need to help patients/families modify their expectations when things don’t work. Sometimes people are so desperate for the plan to work that they can’t bear to see the truth when the plan fails. You are not helping your your patient by continuing treatments that don’t work. You are only subjecting the patient to needless side effects and increased suffering.
One thing you may want to try more often is a time-limited trial of a proposed treatment option. Explain to the family, “Let’s try it for a few days or for a little while and see how it goes.” This is a really great option because it helps the patient/family feel like you are trying but it also gives them a reality check when it doesn’t work. You will want to give them specific symptoms to look for, (that they can understand), so they can see with their own eyes that the plan has failed.
After the set time expires, you can check to see if the decision is working. If it is not working, go back through the decision making process and make a better decision based on the new information about the patient’s changing condition. Don’t be stubborn and keep driving your patients in the wrong direction. Take this as an opportunity to turn around and get it right.
Have a kind and respectful day.