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

March 26, 2021 | Health System Risk Management


​​​​A member asked us for recommendations on virtual sharing of images with patients' families, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic when many facilities are not allowing visitors. In these situations, some facilities may consider virtual sharing of images. 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 safety and care. Among the challenges COVID-19 has brought to healthcare delivery is an increasing dependence on technology to provide adequate services, including communication. Telehealth has improved access to providers, and if visitation is restricted patients may opt to videoconference with family members. 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...

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