How do you update families in your ICU?

  1. 1
    I am curious about how other ICUs update families. Do you allow anyone to call in and talk to the RN? Is it limited to specific contact people? How do you know it is the wife on the phone and not someone else? Are there any rules/guidelines you unit has about phone calls from families (won't be transfered to RN during report, only should call q shift, etc.)? Thanks for your response.
    Joe V likes this.

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  2. 7 Comments...

  3. 1
    We set up a password on admission with the next of kin at the time they are brought to the ICU. The password allows for updates over the phone. Calls are allowed at anytime but if the nurse is busy, she/he will call the family back. We encourage families to limit the number of members that have the password, max of two people to decrease multiple calls. We also inform the family why we limit password access; if every member has the password we are on the phone instead of taking care of the pt.. Calls that come in and the person does not have a password, they get 0 information no matter who they say they are and directed to contact the family.
    Spoiled1 likes this.
  4. 0
    I work peds so it may be slightly different but for us only the parents are allowed to receive medical info, that's on the phone and in person. They are provided with a patient specific code (last four of the med rec #) and must give it to us before we give them any updates. They can (and DO) call as often as they like though are encouraged not to call at change of shift.
  5. 1
    Every family member should have a pin and the first and last name of the patient. W/O this information I would never disclose anything about the patients condition. Even with the pin, I am very vague in my description of the patients condition. Is the patient stable? The patient is in stable condition. Is the patient transferred, Reference a number where the family member can reach another department. If there are complications? It's best to come by the department and speak with me in person. All others, the unit is a secured unit, and the HUC is responsible for directing the family member in the right direction.
    mortalol likes this.
  6. 0
    As a general rule, we only give out information personally, and only if the patient agrees that we share clinical information with family or relatives. But if the patient is sedated, inconcious or in delirium/confusional, we only give out information to the a reference person, and never by the phone, in particular cases we ask for them to come by the hospital if we need to give some important information. beyond that we only update very generic information by telephone, and people are advised about it. And as always reigns simple common sense, when in dout ask a superior and transfer the call to him. But I supose that there are some aspects are diferent, because work in Portugal and Portuguese Law is probably a bit diferent from the american one. I'm sorry for my bad english, I'm not a native speaker (or writer).
  7. 0
    I just talk to them as I'm crawling over them trying to get to the patient. I jest, of course.
  8. 1
    Our policy is nothing over the phone aside from a "yes they're here, yes they're stable" (or yes they're here and you need to come NOW). I tell families from the get go that they're really only going to get information in person or if I call them and that the family needs to pick a point person then that all information filters through.

    If the patient is awake and talking (and then likely waiting for a tele bed) I transfer that call right on into the patient room!!!!
    Spoiled1 likes this.
  9. 0
    I work in NICU, so the babies have ID bracelets. Two people get the adult bracelets that match the baby and they are the only two who are allowed to call and get updates...typically this is mom and dad, but often a grandmother or aunt/uncle has the second one. We ask for the mother's full name (which is what's on the bracelet) and the number that is printed on it. We encourage the family to not share the number so that we know that we are only giving information to the two people who are supposed to be calling.


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