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Patients' families giving medical advice????

Urology   (1,520 Views 4 Comments)

traumaRUs is a MSN, APRN and specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU.

15 Followers; 152 Articles; 188,325 Profile Views; 20,866 Posts

help!!! i work in two chronic outpatient hd clinics. some of the family members of patients are giving medical advice to other patients! i am getting pretty fed up. is this something common? i'm going to have the manager contact the offending family members and tell them this must stop. in one recent case, one family member was buying herbal remedies for another patient!

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17 Articles; 4,167 Posts; 31,267 Profile Views

Wow. I don't know that you can stop the interference, but you should have evidence that you tried to do so (education, contracting, etc.) just to protect yourselves from liability. If something bad should happen and it looks like your clinic knew about the exchange of medical advice and didn't address it, that might look like tacit approval. But, if you can show that you made efforts to curtail the activity, directed at both the givers and receivers of the advice, it shouldn't come down on you.

There is only so much you can do. If consenting adults decide to form an herbal cabal outside of the clinic, you can't be held accountable, provided you did try to educate them about the dangers of doing so.

Tough situation.

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happybunny1970 specializes in Acute Hemodialysis, Cardiac, ICU, OR.

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Further proof that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. "Seasoned" patients and their family think that they are helping by sharing their experiences, but may only actually understand their own situation, not the 'big picture.' They mean well, but don't have the education to understand the differences between patients' situations and all the variables that medical staff have access to.

My opinion: a policy should be instituted whereby when new patients are admitted, they are informed that they may received unsolicited advice from others, but to please follow the instructions of the medical staff and ask their MD any questions they may have. They should also be asked not to give medical advice to others, only to offer support. Maybe I'm not choosing the right words here, but it could be done in a very non-judgmental way to encourage interaction between patients without compromising their view of the staff and their willingness to follow the information they are given. A flyer or pamphlet could be printed up and distributed to current and new patients.

I also don't think it would be inappropriate for anyone who overhears this occurring to quietly mention to the offender that while you appreciate their willingness to help others and offer support, patients should be receiving medical advice only from medical professionals.

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traumaRUs is a MSN, APRN and specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU.

15 Followers; 152 Articles; 20,866 Posts; 188,325 Profile Views

Thanks guys! I was examining a patient with extrapyramidal symptoms from overuse of compazine and explained that I was putting her on Cogentin for a few days. She wanted something for her "nerves." I explained this wasn't indicated and would she consider the Cogentin for a couple of days and see how she did? She agreed. The minute I turned my back, another family member of another patient told her, "well I think you need some ativan - that's what my son gets and it helps his nerves so much."

Arrrgghhh

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