Choosing a Family Spokesperson

It is very helpful for the ICU care team to have a patient’s family choose a family spokesperson. This spokesperson will be the bridge between the Medical-Surgical ICU and the family for sharing information and setting up family meetings. The immediate family is welcome to be part of family meetings or updates, and ask questions at the bedside.

Sometimes the spokesperson is the same person as the substitute decision maker, but not always. This person should be a good listener who knows what questions the rest of the family needs to ask.

It is helpful to write down the questions you will be asking, the answers you are given, and any important changes the staff want you to know about. This makes it easier to be sure everyone is getting the same information and prevents confusion.

It may be helpful as well for the family spokesperson to keep a journal about the experience, as a reference for discussions and decisions, and to help keep track of what has happened.

If there is difficulty within your family in identifying a spokesperson, please notify the bedside nurse or the social worker.


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