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Tips for Communicating with the Trauma Team

Getting and receiving information about your family member are important to both you and to the health care team.

  • Find out who the primary physician and nurse are and introduce yourself. Let them know you are there!
  • Find out their schedule and arrange a mutually convenient time to talk on a regular basis.
  • Prepare ahead for these meetings ahead of time. Make a list of questions after discussion concerns among yourselves.
  • Select a family spokesperson who can speak for all of you and who can share new information with the rest of the family.
  • Provide as much information as you can about the patient, especially if the patient is unable to communicate.
  • Be sure to share the wishes of the patient regarding surgery, life support equipment, dialysis and other difficult decisions with the critical care physician. Try as much as you can to express the patient's wishes or what you believe to be the patient's wishes.
  • Write down information you might not remember, especially if you are responsible for passing it on to the rest of the family.
  • Make sure the health care team knows how to contact you when you are not at the hospital, and that you know how to reach them when you need to.
  • Find out how to get information by telephone -- either who and when you may call, or will will call you for an update.
  • Ask the nurses specifically what you can do to help.
  • You may feel have received conflicting information about the patient from the different doctors, nurses, or other staff you have spoken with. Be sure to check any conflicting or puzzling information with the physician in charge. Sometimes a simple difference in wording may have created the confusion.
  • The Trauma Team is available to talk with you and your family on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm. If you are interested in scheduling a Family Conference, please tell your nurse and he or she will contact the Trauma Team.