Monday, June 20, 2005

to puff or not to puff?

disclaimer: this post is not about drugs. it's about pillows.

my husband has a british acquaintance who also lives in finland. some time ago said acquaintance broke his leg playing floorball. he had to have the bone fragments screwd together, and his leg casted. he had his laptop with him at the hospital, so he was able to send a message to his buddies at one particular bulletin board that my husband is also a member of. in the message he sent he said that healthcare in finland is terrible. his main complaint was that no one had puffed his pillows, not even once, during that day! imagine that! now this is 27 yo. guy who was able to get himself to a sitting position on his own, was able to ask for more pain relief, and, was chatting on the internet through a wireless connection! he was certainly more than capable of puffing his own pillows. it could be a cultural thing, something he was used to. do nurses in britain puff their patients' pillows a lot?

now, during my summer job, i've come to realize that puffing the pillows sometimes is a good thing. my patients can't ask for pain relief or a drink, because they are no longer able to communicate. sometimes they get distressed and start wailing for whatever reason. it could be because the patient in the next bed has visitors and the other one doesn't. if they don't seem to be in pain, we usually offer them some water or juice, and puff their pillows. we turn the cool side of the pillow up and usually that calms them down, because all they need is some sense and knowledge that someone cares about them.

i hope my post didn't offend anyone, it wasn't my intention at all. i was just trying to share a story that i find funny from a finnish nursing perspective. i don't know what the pillow-puffing policy is in your countries, and it certainly is warranted in many cases. i am not even saying that finnish nurses should only puff geriatric, unconscious or otherwise helpless patients' pillows. we as nurses have to have our antennas up when working with patients. the one with the broken leg could also have financial worries, and by puffing his pillows the nurse could give the patient some sympathy without being intrusive. all i am saying is that the brit didn't seem that he was in desperate need of having his pillows puffed. he had a great job (still has), and he was in no way compromising his job by having to be hospitalized. he was cracking jokes at that bulletin board. but again, who am i to tell? i wasn't his nurse.

*edited on oct. 29, 2005 to clarify the title*


Blogger EmJC said...

As far as I know, my large academic medical center in East Coast, USA has no official nursing policy of pillow puffing, of "fluffing" as Americans call it. With a lot of post-operative spinal fusion patients on my floor, I do try to do the warm-to-cool switch during their frequent position changes but admit to not actually puffing/fluffing during the switch. Perhaps this is puffing is a British-only mania?

12:16 AM  
Blogger Nurse Practitioners Save Lives said...

I don't know of any particular pillow "fluffing" criteria here in the US. Especially for patients who can do for themselves. I do find myself fixing pillows quite a bit for my elderly patients to keep them comfortable. I think it's mostly instinct.

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