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"How should I explain a neurological critical care consultation to my mother?"


She is very old and infirm. I am having difficulty explaining things to her.


Explaining medical appointments and procedures can be difficult for anyone, and it becomes even more difficult when there is a problem with communication for any reason. In this case, the advanced age of your mother seems to be contributing to the communication gap. With persistence and the use of simple words, the best effect can generally be achieved.

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Start by finding out what your mother is able to explain about her condition. If you are able to get her to address the fact that she is not mentating correctly, then you will have some common ground to work from. It is important that she not feel that you are her enemy, however, which can sometimes be hard to accomplish when a loved one feels that you are intent on taking away his or her freedom. Sometimes, the best results come when the doctor, who is trained and has practice speaking and explaining this difficult scenario to patients who are difficult to communicate with, is the one who does the bulk of the explaining. If your mother is able to feel that you are involved in her care, and are concerned about her well being, and are present for the discussions, she is likely to understand as well as possible. Please speak to your doctor for more advice and specific recommendations.

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