Phone calls & families <sigh> - page 3

by nyteshade

3,060 Views | 29 Comments

It never ceases to amaze me how "families" call the nurses station and either 1. demand info or 2. politely request info on a patient (and then get mad when I refuse them). Honestly, you wouldn't call up say, a hotel and... Read More


  1. 1
    Quote from hamsterrn
    there have been numerous threads on this issue and in general it seems to be nurses that are totally unaware of hippa. hippa does not prohibit us from providing information to family and friends, it only places requirements on how that information is given. use a pin, password, or just pass the phone to the patient for a second to confirm that you can provide information to that person.

    involving family and friends (with permission) in the overall care of a patient is an important part of nursing care. too often, we seem to use hippa to excuse lazy, poor care.
    excuse me? what is "hippa?"

    i'm familiar with hipaa. but our facility teaches that we cannot even aknowledge that we know someone unless the caller is on the list of patient contacts.

    we're supposed to say, and i quote: "i'm sorry, sir (or madam). i have no information on a party by that name."
    wooh likes this.
  2. 3
    Quote from HamsterRN
    There have been numerous threads on this issue and in general it seems to be nurses that are totally unaware of HIPPA. HIPPA does not prohibit us from providing information to family and friends, it only places requirements on how that information is given. Use a PIN, password, or just pass the phone to the patient for a second to confirm that you can provide information to that person.

    Involving family and friends (with permission) in the overall care of a patient is an important part of nursing care. Too often, we seem to use HIPPA to excuse lazy, poor care.
    That is 190% not true.

    ALL nurses are fully aware of HIPAA (not HIPPA), because I don't know of a hospital that didn't put all of their staff through HIPAA training when the new law came out, considering you can be fined up to $50K PER VIOLATION and go to prison (yes, prison) if the violation was bad enough, up to a maximum of one year.

    HIPAA is asked about on State Boards, taught in nursing school and every patient is given a copy of the privacy policy upon admission.

    If someone is working in healthcare and have never heard of HIPAA and don't know how it works, they need to be working in another profession.

    Where do you get that you can update the family and friends on anything? By what authority do you pick and choose who gets information and who doesn't without the patient's permission, or do you just give it to anyone who is sober enough to pick up the phone and call and ask?

    Seriously...I am very, very surprised that you haven't landed in hot water at your job, because I have personally known of two nurses on my unit that have been fired for HIPAA violations.

    We have even been told that we cannot even go and visit neighbors, etc that are admitted to the hospital unless we have been personally notified by them, not because we just happen to come across their information and know they are admitted.

    It's a REALLY big deal.
    wooh, Ruby Vee, and nursej22 like this.
  3. 1
    When my mother was hospitalized for complications from chemo, we designated one family member to receive info from doctors, nurses, etc. That contact person gave information to the rest of the family. That makes it so much easier all around.

    I give the same advice to patients when they are admitted, then if someone other that person calls I refer them to the contact person.
    wooh likes this.
  4. 0
    Quote from livinthedreamRN
    When my mother was hospitalized for complications from chemo, we designated one family member to receive info from doctors, nurses, etc. That contact person gave information to the rest of the family. That makes it so much easier all around.

    I give the same advice to patients when they are admitted, then if someone other that person calls I refer them to the contact person.
    oops. didn't mean to post this again!!
    Last edit by livinthedreamRN on Jul 19, '10
  5. 0
    Quote from BabyLady
    That is 190% not true.

    ALL nurses are fully aware of HIPAA (not HIPPA), because I don't know of a hospital that didn't put all of their staff through HIPAA training when the new law came out, considering you can be fined up to $50K PER VIOLATION and go to prison (yes, prison) if the violation was bad enough, up to a maximum of one year.

    HIPAA is asked about on State Boards, taught in nursing school and every patient is given a copy of the privacy policy upon admission.

    If someone is working in healthcare and have never heard of HIPAA and don't know how it works, they need to be working in another profession.

    Where do you get that you can update the family and friends on anything? By what authority do you pick and choose who gets information and who doesn't without the patient's permission, or do you just give it to anyone who is sober enough to pick up the phone and call and ask?

    Seriously...I am very, very surprised that you haven't landed in hot water at your job, because I have personally known of two nurses on my unit that have been fired for HIPAA violations.

    We have even been told that we cannot even go and visit neighbors, etc that are admitted to the hospital unless we have been personally notified by them, not because we just happen to come across their information and know they are admitted.

    It's a REALLY big deal.
    HampsterRN did state "with permission".
  6. 1
    Just last week
    Hi, this is Dr.Blah-blah, how is patient M. doing
    hmmm, are you a doctor on his case?
    No, she is my neighbor..
    wooh likes this.
  7. 0
    Quote from ruby vee
    excuse me? what is "hippa?"

    i'm familiar with hipaa. but our facility teaches that we cannot even aknowledge that we know someone unless the caller is on the list of patient contacts.

    we're supposed to say, and i quote: "i'm sorry, sir (or madam). i have no information on a party by that name."
    hipaa is fairly clear that you can disclose a patient is at your facility, unless the patient requests "do not announce" status.
    disclosures to friends and family
  8. 2
    What really KILLS me is when the caller is angry because they claim they've been calling every day and getting info from the nurse.
    BabyLady and wooh like this.
  9. 0
    Quote from BabyLady
    That is 190% not true.

    ALL nurses are fully aware of HIPAA (not HIPPA), because I don't know of a hospital that didn't put all of their staff through HIPAA training when the new law came out, considering you can be fined up to $50K PER VIOLATION and go to prison (yes, prison) if the violation was bad enough, up to a maximum of one year.

    HIPAA is asked about on State Boards, taught in nursing school and every patient is given a copy of the privacy policy upon admission.

    If someone is working in healthcare and have never heard of HIPAA and don't know how it works, they need to be working in another profession.

    Where do you get that you can update the family and friends on anything? By what authority do you pick and choose who gets information and who doesn't without the patient's permission, or do you just give it to anyone who is sober enough to pick up the phone and call and ask?

    Seriously...I am very, very surprised that you haven't landed in hot water at your job, because I have personally known of two nurses on my unit that have been fired for HIPAA violations.

    We have even been told that we cannot even go and visit neighbors, etc that are admitted to the hospital unless we have been personally notified by them, not because we just happen to come across their information and know they are admitted.

    It's a REALLY big deal.
    Yes, HIPAA is a really big deal, which is why we need to understand it, not misinterpret it in the most conservative way possible.
    HIPAA does not prevent us from involving family and friends, it only sets guidelines, here are some helpful answers:
    Disclosures to Friends and Family
  10. 1
    I have no problem giving information and updates when protocol is followed. We also use the codewords/passwords on our unit.

    If a patient doesn't have a codeword and they are awake..I will offer to transfer them into the room. If the person declines to be transferred, I will presume they were just being nosy and not really concerned about my patient.
    wooh likes this.


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