Build More Transparency with Patient Families

Primary Medical Care Center believes involving a patient’s family with the patient’s care is crucial, especially for older patients. Since family members are the ones who spend more time around older patients, they need to understand the physical and mental health challenges they face. That way, the family members can take the appropriate steps to care for their loved ones in their homes and provide nutritious food and transportation when needed.

Seniors don’t usually want to burden their family members, so they won’t tell them about all their health complications. That is why it’s up to their primary care physician to involve family members in the patient’s care. But it must be a collaborative relationship between the doctor and family members rather than a combative one.

How Do You Get the Family Involved? 

Every patient has a legal right to privacy when it concerns their health. So if you want to get a patient’s family involved in their health care, you must ask the patient for permission to talk with their family members about their health. The patient must decide which family members they want to involve, such as their spouse or children. Every patient has different relationships with certain family members, so you must only contact family members approved by the patient.

Schedule Appointments with Family Members 

Once you have a list of family contacts, the next step is to schedule appointments to meet with them and discuss their loved one’s health. Try to involve as many family members as possible because that will create a more extensive support system for the patient.

When more family members come for an appointment at your office, it allows you to address all their questions in one visit. Then you don’t have to keep meeting with different family members at other times and answer the same questions repeatedly. Instead, all the family members will learn about their loved one’s health and the measures which need to be taken to improve it. That is how a positive outcome can get achieved over the long run.

How to Solve Disagreements with Family Members

You can expect family members to disagree with the medical advice and guidance you give their loved ones. Whatever happens, please avoid getting into a combative argument with family members. The health of their loved ones is a sensitive issue for them, so they aren’t always going to listen to practical advice very well.

The best way to approach a disagreement is to acknowledge the family members’ concerns with humility and understanding. Then, make it clear to the family members that all your medical advice is based on the evidence-based preventive care training you’ve received.

For example, if a family member starts talking about specific medications or over-the-counter supplements they saw on television and suggests they could be effective in treating their loved one’s condition, you should respond by providing medical evidence which proves your point over theirs. But don’t be antagonizing or argumentative when providing this evidence. Just remain calm and kind throughout the entire exchange between you and the family members.

Learn From Family Members 

When you bring family members into the picture, they can give you invaluable information concerning a patient’s health and the lifestyle factors that could affect it. For example, you could ask questions like:

Does the patient have access to transportation to get to their appointments?

Does the patient have healthy food to eat?

Do they have safe housing?

Do they have friends or an active social life?

The answers to these questions can tell you a lot about a patient’s health and well-being. But since a patient isn’t likely to confess these things to you as their primary care physician, it is up to you to get this information from their family members.

Senior patients often have too much pride in opening up about their personal challenges, even to their doctors. However, patients cannot always hide these challenges from their family members because of the close relationship and interactions they have with them.

So when family members and primary care physicians exchange vital information about a patient, they can come up with solutions to care for the patient in the best ways possible together.

Value-Based Care Strengthens Relationships with Families 

A value-based healthcare model creates the perfect opportunities for primary care physicians to connect with families and vice versa. Since the value-based model focuses on curing patients and reducing patient panels, it allows physicians more time to spend with families in order to treat their loved ones effectively.

The fee-for-service model makes these connections more difficult to establish because it requires the doctor to keep seeing the same patients indefinitely. Not only that, but doctors spend less time with patients and their families under the fee-based system. That is why the fee-based system cannot work well for the family-doctor relationship.


Would you like to learn more about involving family members with a patient’s health and wellness needs? Primary Medical Care Center can give you those answers and much more. Call us at (305) 751-1500 to speak with a customer service representative today. We are a value-based care facility.