Ellie Greenberg

Dear Ellie

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Hospitalized Friend's Family Limiting Access to Her

By Elinor Miller Greenberg, EdD

Dear Ellie:

A dear friend of mine is in the intensive care unit of a local
hospital. Her family is a bit fractured. Her husband is deceased, her
adult daughter is deceased, her developmentally disabled daughter and
her fiancée are nearby, and her son-in-law has power of attorney. There
are some other relatives, too. They guard access to her quite closely.

I feel awkward about visiting her, but feel a deep need to do so. I
don’t want to add to their stress and don’t know what to do. Can you
advise me? Theresa

Dear Theresa:

I can understand the difficult decisions you are facing. I have been in
a very similar situation. In that instance, a
particular family member literally guarded the door to the hospital
room and only permitted certain people to enter.

In order to respect the family, but still be able to spend a few
minutes with your friend, try to find at least one family member with
whom you could discuss your need to visit. Hopefully, that person will
give you overt permission to do so and you can spend a few minutes of
privacy with your friend.

I hope that your friend recovers soon and that this episode will fade from memory. Ellie

By Elinor Miller Greenberg, EdD
Dear Ellie Blog

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