The nurse is caring for a patient with Guillain-Barré syndrome. The patient states that they want to die rather than live with the disease. Of the following, which is an appropriate response?

Ask the patient to elaborate on their feelings.


• Guillain-Barré syndrome is an autoimmune disease that causes demyelination of nerves. The result is ascending paralysis that can affect the extremities, respiratory muscles, cranial nerves, and sometimes autonomic function. The exact cause of the condition is not clear, but it can appear after a recent respiratory or gastrointestinal infection, surgery, or immunization (such as influenza). The condition is usually reversible and the majority of patients have a complete recovery within the first year.

• Sidenote: Franklin D. Roosevelt's paralysis is now thought to be caused by Guillain-Barré syndrome rather than polio.

• The nurse should use therapeutic communication to help the patient explore their own feelings and concerns. Processing their feelings may help them resolve some of their feelings of hopelessness, or reveal questions or concerns that can be addressed.

• Incorrect: The doctor does not need to be contacted in this situation. The patient does not need a feeding tube because they are able to eat by mouth. The condition is not irreversible.

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