Jean is the mother of six adult children. At 72, she had many health problems that were complicated by a new diagnosis of cancer. She was hospitalized repeatedly after chemotherapy.
The family received conflicting information from the many doctors involved in her care. One doctor was hopeful while another wanted to make a referral to hospice. The family was confused and frustrated with the poor information they were receiving.
Initially, the family held a meeting with the doctors, but no one followed up with regular meetings after the first one. Also, the doctors in charge changed depending upon which nursing unit she was on, and this added to the confusion.
There were many specialists involved in her care, and the family had many questions. They decided to keep a notebook at their mother's bedside. All family members listed their questions in this book. Anytime the doctor saw their mother, the family member present asked the questions. The answers were written down for everyone to review. The family also kept a small tape recorder at the bedside to record the doctor's statements.