Have you ever taken care of a patient in the ED and made an assumption about the other people in the room with them? In this episode, our hosts, Andy and Tanner, are joined by special guests, Christopher Colbert, DO and Rachel Munn, DO to discuss their approach to the “other people” in the room.

Most of the time patients who come into the ED bring someone with them that is either a family member, family friend, or even their personal injury attorney. It is important during the initial encounter to know their relationship to the patient and to set expectations early. Some tips for success include:

Don’t assume who is in the room

  • Find a way to introduce yourself and then allow others to identify themselves
  • Be professional at all times
  • Set expectations early
  • Recognize that the person in the bed may not always be the patient
  • Develop a way to identify and interact with non-helpful, non-essential people in the room

Know your state’s laws in terms of recording parts of the visit

  • When in doubt treat people well and take the high road

Differentiate between helpful and unhelpful/potentially harmful people

  • Some people can be helpful by providing additional history, bringing in medications, etc.
  • Other may be less helpful/potentially harmful by providing patients who are NPO with food, bringing in drugs, etc.

At the end of the visit, make sure everyone is on the same page and their questions are answered

  • Documentation and a good After Visit Summary are very important
Take Homes:
  1. Most visits in the ED for patients will have someone accompanying them.
  2. Always get to know who is in the room with the patient.
  3. Either those in the room can be very helpful with the patient or be more difficult
  4. Take the high road and treat everyone with professionalism and kindness

Post by Rick Disilva


About Our Guests:

Chris Colbert, DO is Assistant Program Director at UIC

Rachel Munn, DO is Core Faculty at the University of Arizona

  1. https://www.ahrq.gov/hai/cauti-tools/archived-webinars/patient-family-engagement-ed-transcript.html
  2. Meier N, Little A, Morales-Yurik T, Arehart B. Provider Perspective on Being Recorded During Emergency Medicine Discharge Conversations. Cureus. 2022 Apr 27;14(4):e24523. doi: 10.7759/cureus.24523. PMID: 35651372; PMCID: PMC9138187.
  3. Salehi T, Nayeri ND, Mohammadi E, Mardani-Hamooleh M. Exploring patients and family members’ experiences of care in the emergency department. Emerg Nurse. 2020;28(5):23-27. doi:10.7748/en.2020.e2008
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The Other People in the Room

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