It's important to include family members in the care of their loved ones on the day of surgery. Family members provide vital information about patients and help to ensure discharge instructions are followed, which prevents post-op complications and unnecessary or preventable hospital admissions. To improve your interactions with family members, follow the steps of SCOOP:
- (S)eek permission. Ask patients if it's OK to give their family members the discharge summary and information about post-discharge care. It's best to get their permission before procedures on the day of surgery, during registration or in pre-op.
- (C)all the family. Have a PACU nurse contact family members as soon as patients are ready for discharge. Our nurses use a wearable device that allows for three-way calls between themselves, patients and family members.
- (O)pportunity to teach. During the calls, nurses should acknowledge the family members, introduce themselves, share how long the call is expected to last, explain discharge directions and thank them for their willingness to help their loved ones recover from surgery.
- (O)pportunity to answer questions. Invite patients and their family members to ask about their post-discharge directions. Clearing up any confusion ensures the information is fully understood before patients head home.
- (P)repare for exit. Make sure discharge paperwork is complete and patients are dressed. Have a staff member transport patients in a wheelchair outside to the curbside, where family members are waiting with a vehicle to drive patients home.
This is a simple and standardized way to maximize family involvement in the care of their loved ones. It increases patient safety, enhances quality of care and helps to optimize outcomes.
Muriel Moyo, MS, BSN, RN, CCRN-K, NE-BC
PIH Health Downey Hospital