This is Phil Cox.  I am a chaplin at a regional medical center.

This past week I was able to use the VDI techniques to calm a patient in the ICU. She was headed to the psychiatric services unit, and didn’t want to go. She was yelling at everyone, and even pushed a nurse when she blocked the door. Our security staff had already arrived and was in the process of physically subduing her. She was fighting back.

When I entered the room, I got her attention, introduced myself, asked if I could talk with her. She said “Yes, but not with an audience.” I asked all staff to leave the room, with one psych services member with me. She sat down and began talking. Mostly she talked about trouble at home and how her parents misunderstood her letter as a suicide note. She also said she hadn’t had much sleep in several day, which was good information to know. There were more threats. I listened, clarified, empathized with her, and let her talk. I told her we needed to make sure she was okay, and needed to take her upstairs, so we could get her out of the hospital as soon as possible. I gave her options, which included the good ones (we could do it the easy way) and the bad ones (or the guys could come back in do it the hard way). I asked if she could work with us. At that time our nurse manager from psych services (also a VDI instructor) came in with a syringe and said she had a shot to help her relax. She stood up and turned around to get the shot in her hip. Another nurse came in with a wheelchair; she got into it voluntarily, and was taken upstairs.

A couple of days later, I saw her upstairs, and she thanked me for talking with her before. This worked out as well as it could have.