What is your policy of telling the family the pt's disease progress - page 2

Is it allowed to share some details such as increased PTT, decrease creatinine with the family? if the family is a ACNP herself, worrying her mother to death, what would you do? Especially, after... Read More

  1. by   MunoRN
    Back to the OP's question, I've never worked anywhere that had a specific policy on this since it's usually covered in states' nurse practice acts, which typically define that it is the nurse's responsibility to ensure that the patient is kept up-to-date on their plan of care, lab results, medication changes, etc. Nurse's are not only allowed, but expected to ensure that patient's are aware of and understand their test/lab results. In situations where the nurse doesn't adequately understand the test or result to be able to communicate and educate about the results then they are expected to defer to someone who does, but for the most part nurse's should be able to explain the results themselves.

    For instance, let's say you have a new admit who just had a CT result positive for a PE, the doc has now ordered a heparin drip. When going in to start the heparin drip, the nurse is required to explain the purpose of the medication, which would include explaining to the patient what the CT showed (as diagnosed by the radiologist).

    In teaching hospitals much of that responsibility gets transferred to residents who need the experience with patient communication, but it's still the overall responsibility of the nurse to ensure it's getting done.