Ask ECRI: Communicating with Families about Wounds When Families Cannot Visit

March 26, 2021 | Aging Services Risk Management


​ A member asked us for recommendations on communicating with families about resident wounds during the COVID-19 pandemic when families are not allowed to visit. Normally, families will on occasion ask to see a wound, and a nurse or physician will talk about the healing process with the family. With families unable to come into the building, some have requested to view a family member's wound virtually. The questioner noted that the organization values communication with families highly and believes it is important to share visual wound progress.

​​In our reply, we noted that ECRI recognizes the importance of highly reliable communication and family engagement. Two-way conversations between providers and families are paramount for patient and resident safety and care. Among the challenges COVID-19 has brought to resident care delivery is an increasing dependence on technology to provide adequate services, including communication. Telehealth has improved access to providers, and residents have been encouraged to videoconference with family members to combat social isolation. Technology presents opportunities to address challenges in communications as well as in care delivery, but does present risks. Expanding the use of technology beyond well-recognized practices may lead to violations of the Health Insurance Portability...

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