Disclosure Tip: Exchange Contact Info with Patients & Families!
So...put yourself in the family's shoes with this one. Their loved one whom they thought was going in the hospital for a "minor procedure" suffered a major adverse event and is hospitalized for an indefinite time period. The patient may even die. Life is chaos. But, one nice doctor did disclose to them...or maybe it was a nursing manager...or administrator....somebody said something to them about "sorry" and "promising a review," etc BUT the family can't remember the name....OR didn't get a business card OR the business card doesn't include a cell phone number, and they want to call this nice doctor and ask a follow up question or get a progress report but the hospital operator is no help. Frustration and anxiety is mounting within the family, and the Uncle from California suggests they call a lawyer. Don't let his happen to you and your patients & families!
The whole point of disclosure is to maintain and rebuild relationships....to literally stay on the same side of the table as the patient and family. So, give them your business card. If your card doesn't have your cell phone number, write the number on there. Don't make patients and families call hospital operators or navigate phone trees....make it easy for them to contact you. If they leave you a voicemail, call back as quickly as possible. By providing a real open door policy you show sincerity, rebuild trust, and are more believable going forward.
Moreover, get their contact information. Learn who the spokesperson for the family is, and get their cell phone and e-mail address...AND don't wait for them to call you. Reach out to them on a regular basis. Again, keep the relationship alive.
The little things can make or break you. Exchange contact information! Please share this tip with physician and nurse friends.