Would you call a patient's family at 3 am?

Nurses General Nursing


Trauma pt, bike vs garbage truck, trached, vented, pegj-d, Awake on Diprivan... Plastic surgeon writing strict orders NOT to repostion patient, and to keep room 78-80 degrees (to protect her graft). Family left at 11pm.. At 3 am she wants me to call her family to come back in and sit with her. I went up on the Diprivan, pain meds, etc, as much as I could to buy time to a more reasonable hour. But at change of shift she was CRYING, because we hadn't called her family. Passed it on to the day nurse to feel out this family and find out if they wanted to be called at all hours. But I went home feeling really guilty. Would any of you have called???


839 Posts

YES!!!! put yourself in the family's place....wouldn't you want to be allowed the option of coming back in? also the patient requested it, and i would advocate for her...if the familt\y flips out, then you know they don't wanna be called..but at least then you did what the pt needed/wanted


375 Posts

I would have called. It was late--or early however you look at it--but you would hope they wouldn't care and would want to be called. And if they did get angry at you, like sunnygirl said, you are just being patient advocate. Its over now, so don't beat yourself up over it, maybe next time you will make a different decision.


32 Posts



735 Posts

If it was my kid who nose dived c a garbage truck and wanted me there I'd want to be called.



312 Posts

Ditto.... I can't imagine if my little one was wanting me and I didn't go b/c I wasn't called.

Plus, the pt would respond much better after being comforted by her parents.


Dayray, RN

700 Posts

I would have called.

If it was my family memeber crying and scared Id want to be there, heck I woudlent have left in the first place.


105 Posts

Specializes in Leadership/Critical Care/Surgery/Seniors.

I would have called as well in this situation. However, have been in situations where the patient had been with us forever, had become extremely demanding, the family was worn out, and have chosen not to call - family had expressed frustration with the behavior of their loved one, and requested that we call only for changes in condition.


458 Posts

I can't believe the family actually left!!!! Yes I would have called as well........


124 Posts

Sounds like you were doing what you thought was best. Families have needs as well as the patient, and exhausted familes are not always helpful to the patient. You did take additional steps to ensure the patient was comfortable and pain free. Sounds like you were attempting to sooth her emotional needs as well.

That said, next time just go ahead and call them. That is the general consensus here and I think it's right on.

The mere fact that you 'felt guilty' and came here for support just proves you are a caring nurse. We all live and learn. Keep up the good work.

night owl

1,134 Posts

Why the heck did they leave??? I most definately would have called in a flash! If that were me, I'd been there for the duration...


222 Posts

This might sound stupid, but honestly, before I actually worked in a hospital I had no idea that family could stay! When my confused father was in the hospital,I would have stayed, yet no one even suggested it to me. Instead, when visiting hours were over, I left Daddy there tied in the bed and cried all the way home. Maybe the family didn't even know they could have stayed?

I probably would not have called. I often tell the family to go home and rest while they can. Twenty four hour a day caretaking for them begins when the patient goes home.

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