Sensitivity of Families to the Moisture Chamber

Some family members may have increased anxiety due to the appearance of their loved one with a polyethylene moisture chamber in place.  The Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank is very sensitive to families and their needs.  It should be noted that a lot of research has shown families make decisions and rate their overall hospital experience  by how they are treated, and how well they are informed throughout the process.  This means not only educating them about their loved one's disease process, but also about the treatments and nursing care they receive.  If this is done in a consistent, sensitive way without technical jargon, most families will be able to accept the chamber.  Some may even become advocates and police its positioning.  Here are some options:

1.  A simple, non-technical explanation might be:  "Some of the medications he is on cause muscles to relax, including the tiny ones that close his eyes and make him blink.  When this happens, the eye can dry out pretty quickly and cause him vision problems later on.  This is a "moisture chamber" that traps moisture close to his eyes.  We check his eyelids every shift, and when his muscles can keep his eyes closed, or when he blinks more often, then we can remove it.  It's only held on with Vaseline, so it would be good if you help keep an eye on it to make sure it hasn't shifted around or come off."

2.  For families that express particular anxiety over the chamber, simply remove it during short visits.  Because the moisture chamber is held in place with petroleum jelly, it is easily removed and replaced.  This is not, however, a substitute for a thorough discussion with the family about the need for the chamber.

Click here for illustrated instructions on applying the moisture chamber.