You are caring for a patient with Guillain-Barré syndrome. He can swallow without any problem, but has been refusing food. When asked about this, the patient states that he wants to die rather than live with this disease. What should the nurse do?

Ask the patient to elaborate on his feelings.

Explanation

• 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

• Fun Fact: 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 his own feelings and concerns. Processing his feelings may help him resolve some of his 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 he is able to eat by mouth. The condition is not irreversible

• Incorrect: The patient does not need a feeding tube because he is able to eat by mouth

• Incorrect: The condition is not irreversible

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