How about a liasion nurse ?


I work in a PACU that has about 30-40 cases/day. The visitor situation is out of control!! There is constant traffic, the receptionist is always coming in to ask if the loved one can come in yet. The doctor tells these people they can go in to see whoever in a half hour or 45 minutes. The person is at the desk in 1/2 hour asking to go in.

A liasion nurse would solve most of the problems. Anyone use a liasion? And if so, how do you work it out?

Thanks, anr33


17 Posts

Specializes in pacu/er/med surg. Has 31 years experience.

we have someone..usually a volunteer that sets in the waiting room and answers questions and calls in for isnt perfect and needs some fine tuning but things are a little bit better..sometimes we are lucky and get a retired nurse in there..


155 Posts

Specializes in PACU,Trauma ICU,CVICU,Med-Surg,EENT. Has 31 years experience.

Yes,we generally have a liaison nurse on M-F, 9-5 and it works beautifully This position is filled by OR nurses. They regularly make rounds through the OR, PACU,and the day surgery waiting areas keeping families up-to-date. I believe it greatly cuts down on the familes' anxiety,and it seems that not as many people are asking to come into PACU as would otherwise be the case. When someone does ask to visit,they are escorted in by liasion who has already told them that it's for a very short visit only - some people assume they are able to sit at the bedside,as they would in a patient's room. Of course,there are exceptions made for children,those mentally challenged,terminal,etc.

It is very helpful also if you need to contact family about questions that might come up,or medication details that may need to be confirmed.

What we now have to put in place is liasion with family who are waiting up on the patient units....our ward clerk is often driven out of her mind :bugeyes: completely by the number of phone calls coming from staff on the floors,wondering,on behalf of family,how so-and-so is doing,etc. All very valid calls,but overwhelming to say the least.

We tend to be a very busy unit and we really feel it on those days when we have no liasion we're thankful for liasions!! :redbeathe :bowingpur


Specializes in Critical care. Has 9 years experience.

We have an ancillary person who does this 8-5 and it's great. We also have a board that updates family members (uses a code not to violate HIPAA). She pokes her head in to find out bed assignments, find out about delays, and updates the board for those she doesn't speak with. After 5pm it's a different story. The charge RN or PACU secretary are supposed to call to the waiting room and give updates. Usually they are really busy and can't get to it right away. So we get a few nasty calls "why isn't Mama out yet" and I just want to say "well I can't get her out any faster when you call q15min!!!"


155 Posts

Specializes in PACU,Trauma ICU,CVICU,Med-Surg,EENT. Has 31 years experience.

" I just want to say "well I can't get her out any faster when you call q15min!!!" "

Lol! good one,and so true! We are like this :bugeyes: sometimes,aren't we?! lol lol

I work in a PACU where we do ~80-100 cases a day, so needless to say, we stay extremely busy and family visitation is the last thing we need to be worried about. Our unit has established a visitation schedule..... the pt. must be in PACU for 1 hour before family is allowed to be brought in for a 5 minute visit, 1 family member per visit. Visitation is every hour on the whole hour. Pediatric pts may have both parents stay at the bedside for the entire recovery period, typically the Ped. doc brings them to the bedside as soon as he/she explains the surgery. Our hospital utilizes ancillary staff for this purpose from 9a-9p. This system works very well for us. If your nurse mgr could also set some sort of system like ours it would really alleviate your stress as well as establish some order to the chaos. Hope this helps!


13 Posts

I'm not a nurse yet, but I have had multiple surgeries due to breast cancer recently and my hospital has a great way of informing pt what the status of their loved one is. The pt is given a small "transmitter" that is clipped to their clothing when they register at the hospital or go into the pre-op area. The family/friend is given a beeper with a number on it that corresponds to the patient. When the patient moves from one area to another, the beeper digitally displays the movement of the patient. There are also big TV screens in all the waiting rooms that display the number (for privacy) and where the pt is located. When the pt is able to have visitors, the beeper tells the family/friend where the pt is located. This has been wonderful for my family. They knew exactly where I was in my process and it allowed them to relax a little. They didn't feel the need to have to ask the nurses or receptionist what my status was. It's a great system.

By the way, the hospital is Lakeland Regional in Lakeland Florida. They use this system in their outpatient surgical center also.


6 Posts

Specializes in Pediatrics, PACU. Has 20 years experience.

We have ancillary staff (care partner or secretary) or a volunteer to stay in our busy waiting room 6:30am to 5pm. Our OR nurses call out and give hourly updates to the family members. Our Pacu nurses will call out and give hourly or more frequent updates. When the patient is awake enough and with a stable airway,they move to phase II PACU and they can have 2 adult visitors at all times.


5 Posts

I actually applied for a position such as this a couple years ago, but took a different position instead. So the job is out there, or at least was...i don't know if the job was ever filled, or if it got cut in an effort to "save money". I'm in agreement with you...we have asked for the last 2 years in our small ambulatory center to have someone who can get family members, take them back and forth thru locked doors, let them know about their loved is a needed position.


278 Posts

We use a liaison, and it is very helpful in keeping the natives at bay, if you will. The problem is, we RNs have to take turns being the liaison. So when we have a day where there's no beds in the hospital, you can count on getting ******* out by family members. We let them come in 2 visitors at a time every 2 hours. We're also the only PACU in our city that allows families in, but the families still get angry at us. We've tried to hire an ancillary staff member, but we're on a hiring freeze for ancillary staff. So now we're using a nurse (at a nurse's salary) to be a liaison. Doesn't seem to make too much sense with the budget, huh? But the liaison roll does seem to take the burden off nurses to make constant calls, and it does reduce the calls coming in for updates. Now if we could get the OR staff on board to give updates too - right now only PACU nurses are expected to do this. So we're still fielding calls while a patients is still in surgery.


7 Posts

Has 35 years experience.

Working evenings in day surgery I feel like there is no support for those families in the waiting room and I get caught up in their drama. This is not fair to the patients and I need to reinforce that to the families that are constantly every 5 minutes bugging me to find information on why they are not out yet. This does nothing . Some are irate and I would like to call security ...maybe that is the answer. People need to take responsibility for their actions. Most people are scared ,nervous but controlled. It is the 25% that get outrageous and my hands are tied. It takes so much of my time to cater to them and if I don't they go over my head and it comes back at me the next day. Administrators are all over it but have no answers.


13 Posts

Specializes in L&D, ER, PACU.

I am strongly against family visits in the PACU caring for adult patients. If we are in a holding situation(which happens with alarming frequency), we will accomodate brief visits based on unit dynamics. If you have even one patient with issues(eg., airway, pain, emergence delirium), all bets are off. Staff focus needs to be on patient care, not family during this delicate time. Communication is carried out via a unit clerk and volunteer staff. It works well and facilitates the best patient care for a PACU. I also consider family visits in a PACU a HIPPA violation. As a patient myself at one point, I did not appreciate having my wound checks done with family in the unit. Even though curtains were pulled, a family member thought it would be ok to pull the curtain to speak with the nurse. The general public has a poor filtering system these days. What's next, visits in the OR?

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