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Nurse Role in Patient-Family Communication

Within the COCM©, the focus is on the patient/family unit at the center of the model. It is the nurse’s obligation to make sure the patient’s needs or requests for information are met through the expected decision making model: through the family decision maker and /or physician.  If a patient should ask the nurse about his/her diagnosis, or other information that may be disturbing to the patient, the patient should be referred to the physician. 


The nurses’ role is to facilitate the communication between family and patient; to ensure the family and the physician is aware of concerns the patient is expressing to the nurse or health care team. The nurse advocates autonomy for the patient by ensuring the patient concerns are communicated through the right channels, within the cultural expectations.

Sharing of patient information


There will be multiple family members that may request information about the patient. Nurses need to confirm the contact details of next of kin in the file that the patient wishes to be contacted if needed. If patient is a child / unable to decide; then the guardian (usually the father/ male person) is the one to contact in case of emergency.


Patient information cannot be given by the nurse; nurses should refer the person to the family decision maker. No information regarding the patient is given over the phone. 

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