Nurse patients in a comfortable quiet, well lit, but not overly bright area or room. A bed away from traffic areas and noise is best.
Darkness and shadows can trigger anxiety, fear and hallucinations.
The patient in a withdrawal state may be in crisis, and feeling physically and emotionally vulnerable with low self-esteem. It is therefore important for nurses and doctors to be calm and nonjudgmental.
The nurse should remain at the bedside for a long as necessary, listening to the patient, reorientating to time and place and providing factual information on his/her condition. This one-to-one contact and education will relieve anxiety and when used at an early stage will be time well spent.
Nursing strategies that can be helpful include:
It is helpful if the nurse adopts an authoritarian tone or gives orders.
Talk to the patient in a calm and consistent voice. Even if you are alarmed try not to show anxiety. Do not use medical or psychological jargon that the patient is unable to understand.
DO NOT REINFORCE CONFUSION
Appear calm, relaxed, attentive, interested and as someone who can be trusted.
Do not physically intimidate a patient. Avoid rushing to and fro, and gestures that may increase the patient's fear and/or cause aggression.
All staff need to be consistent at all times. This will reduce the possibility of any problematic behaviour from a patient, e.g. drug seeking, manipulation, passive-aggressive behaviours.