Trauma patients and their families naturally have many questions about treatments, progress, and options. The trauma surgeon is the patient’s primary contact. Other specialists may also be involved with the patient’s care, depending on his or her needs.
- Physicians can answer questions during their regular visits with the patient.
- Families should choose one member to serve as the family spokesperson, collect information, and update the rest of the family.
- In critical care units, a family spokesperson is invited to attend the weekly team meeting at the patient's bedside, during which the medical team discusses the patient’s plan of care and progress.
- If patients or family members have additional questions, a phone call with the physician or a family conference can be arranged to discuss the plan of care.
- Patients should let their nurse know if they need to speak with the trauma surgeon.
Discharge planning begins at admission. The case manager or social worker can help patients and families plan for discharge.
- On the day of discharge, instructions are given to the patient.
- Discharge instructions include information about diet, medications, wound care, activity limits, and follow-up visits.
- The patient will need to see one or more physicians at a follow-up appointment. These appointments are very important to the patient’s recovery.
- Rehabilitation is for patients who need a longer period of therapy. The case manager can help arrange for rehabilitation when needed.