By AHRA Staff
May 2012—Every month, a hypothetical management situation is posted. You are encouraged to share your thoughts (in the comment box below) on how you would address the issue. Here is this month’s question:
Inspired by a post in the member forum:
What would you do if a patient showed up for an ultrasound and brought children and/or other family members with them who wanted to come into the exam room during the procedure? Would you allow this? What policies do you have in place to deal with this issue?
Be sure to check out others’ responses and join the discussion.
First, You must assume that this is an OB exam. What a perfect moment to show off technology, customer service and to promote the profession. You have the opportunity to make or break a life changing moment, don’t blow it by not allowing the family to experience such a great moment. With that being said, don’t allow the family or children to dictate how you perform your job. You and you alone know exactly what needs to be imaged and you cannot get sucked into the moment and perform a sub-par exam. Set the expectations clearly with the family (kids too), if there are too many distractions, the kids or family may need to step out, but at the end, allow them back in for some educational teaching and print a nice picture for them to show others.
Being a consumer driven world, I would listen to the request and examine to see if there is a possible way to make this a win-win situation for the patient and his/her family. More than likely, as described, childern and other family members would not be able to enter the room. Communication would be key – show of empathy/concern would balance the need to prohibit family members – for the patient’s welfare.
Our Ultrasound rooms are small. Our US Techs complained that there are often too many family members in the room to maintain safety and to remain focused (children were trying to pull transducers off of walls, there were a dozen family members asking many questions about the fetal status, etc.). We created a policy to try to limit the number of people in the room, yet still meet the patients’ needs.
Patient family members and friends are not to be in exams room during any imaging procedure unless absolutely necessary**.
**For OB ultrasound exam, the patient will be allowed a spouse or one other person to accompany them into the room for the routine exam. Technologists should use discretion when deciding on how to best meet the needs of the Technologist and/or patient. If additional family and friends are with the patient, the Technologist will invite them in at the end of the procedure, upon the patient’s request, for limited image viewing. Pictures will be provided to the patient to share with her family and friends.