Case Management

The art and science of the family meeting

Case Management Insider, October 20, 2015

 Family meetings are an important tool for any case manager. These meetings can help more effectively meet the needs of patients with complex care needs and ensure that the discharge plan is a success. They’re even more important if you encounter a challenging case, for example, if patients and family members disagree with one another or the plan of care.

A meeting allows you to get a better understanding of where the family or patient is coming from and to develop a discharge plan that makes everyone happy because it’s not only medically appropriate, but affordable and adheres to the patient’s wishes.

To ensure that these meetings run as smoothly as possible, it’s wise to have a checklist of items that are taken care of ahead of time, says June Stark, RN, BSN, Med, director of care coordination at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Boston. It should include the following:

  • Set your own goal. What is the desired outcome for the healthcare team?
  • Get the right invite list. Make sure you include all the important players in the patient’s care from physicians to family members.
  • Think outside the team. Pull in others to the meeting who might not be obvious choices, but can provide support, such as clergy members.
  • Set the stage. A meeting with run more smoothly if it’s in a comfortable location. It seems simple, but make sure there is enough seating and that the meeting allows everyone to hear and participate.
  • Make it convenient. Make it easier for family members to attend the meeting by scheduling it after business hours and giving as much notice as possible.

Done right, these meetings can help you ensure that the patient has everything he or she needs to transition smoothly to the next level of care.


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