Counselling skills in critical care stressed

Director of Institute of Medical Sciences (IMS), Banaras Hindu University, Prof. Gajendra Singh said here on Saturday that skilled doctors and other professionals working in the intensive care unit (ICU) should know where to stop their efforts at treatment?they must be aware that there was a time to die?because the only sure thing after birth was death.
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Published on Feb 19, 2006 12:20 AM IST
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None | By, Varanasi

Director of Institute of Medical Sciences (IMS), Banaras Hindu University, Prof. Gajendra Singh said here on Saturday that skilled doctors and other professionals working in the intensive care unit (ICU) should know where to stop their efforts at treatment—they must be aware that there  was a time to die—because the only sure thing after birth  was death.

“At that point, counselling skills are of the greatest importance as the staff helps the relatives realise that their loved one is about to die. Communication skills and empathy are the highest virtues in critical care which, if not learned by the intensivists, will leave the relatives of the dying patient with great emotional scars”, he said.

Prof. Gajendra Singh was delivering the inaugural address at a two-day symposium on ‘Critical Care’ at KN Udupa auditorium in BHU here this afternoon.

The division of intensive care in the at Anesthesia Department of IMS-BHU has organised the symposium. Prof. Singh said the situation in the ICU needed experts with knowledge over a wide area with highly developed clinical skills as well as familiarity with sophisticated equipment. “They prepare and practice in the ICU everyday so that their skills and reaction time are of the highest order.”

He said that time was precious and decisions had to be taken promptly in times of crisis. “The equipment is only there to deliver data. The doctor has to evaluate it repeatedly and adjust treatment from moment to moment”, he said, adding this service could only be provided by close coordination among doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and pharmacists.

The Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Prof. SK Bhattacharya expressed concern over the small number of critical care experts. He said that there was an urgent need to increase the number of trained and certified critical care specialists.

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