Receiving Medical Updates

How Often Should I Get Information?

Daily discussions with the health care team allow for an update on the condition of your loved one and their treatment plan. If an acute change or event occurs, you may need to speak with the doctor more frequently. The nurse is very helpful in keeping you updated about the day's events, as well as clarifying information. If there are multiple physicians, select only one of them to speak daily to the family, to eliminate any confusion. In addition, it is often best to have one family member serve as the spokesperson. In the case of difficult decision making or confusing information, the nurse or social worker can often arrange a family meeting or a private meeting with the doctor.

Here are some suggestions to make the most of your visits:

  • If you would like more information about your loved ones condition, speak with your nurse to arrange a convenient time for you to meet the other members of the health care team.
  • Many questions may come up during or after a discussion with the health care team. To keep track of any questions or ideas you may have, write them down as they arise.
  • Make sure that we know how to contact you when you leave the hospital.
  • Communication is often easier if you select a family spokesperson who can speak for the entire family.

What is The Best Way to Share Information with Family and Friends?

During this difficult time, family members and friends are anxious to learn the latest updates about their loved one. They will want to know what exactly is wrong, how the patient is responding and what they can do to help.

  • Why Non-Immediate Family and Friends Cannot Get Information from the Hospital:

The accepted practice for Intensive Care Unit nurses is to give patient information only to immediately family. This includes spouses, a significant other, parents, brothers, sisters or children. This ensures that the privacy and confidentiality of the patient is guarded and respected.

Do You Need Help? Do You Have Questions?

The MedStar Harbor Hospital Ethics Committee can help you and your family with difficult decisions and stressful situations that often arise when a loved one is ill.

Are you facing any of the following difficult decisions?

  • Your loved one's plan of care

  • Family disagreements about care

  • Advance Directives

  • Determining whether to forego or withdraw life- sustaining treatment

Stressful situations:

  • Conflict resolution

  • Hospice or Palliative Care

  • Religious issues related to the care of your loved one

We can help! The Ethics Committee is a diverse team that provides confidential, compassionate support, information and guidance. If you would like this assistance, ask your physician or nurse about an Ethics Committee referral.

Location Information

For more information, please call


MedStar Harbor Hospital
3001 South Hanover St.
Baltimore, MD 21225