Using Patient Room Whiteboards to Communicate with Families

Oct 21, 2020

gritman whiteboard

Patient rooms are not just for patients, which means that patient room whiteboards will inevitably be used to communicate with other people. While the focus of their design and use is primarily for the patient, they can also be used successfully to communicate and educate a patient’s family, friends and other visitors. Communicating with patient families is particularly important in pediatric settings, where much of the information is directed at parents and guardians, or in settings where the patient may suffer from some sort of cognitive or communication issues. They may also be used to communicate information through translators for patients who have limited or no fluency in English. 

Regardless of the situation, whiteboards can be optimized to deliver information to a patient’s family or anyone else who may benefit from what is being conveyed. Here’s how your facility can make the most of its whiteboards by using them to communicate with patient families. 


Have the Right Template 

By having the right whiteboard template and training, care teams can effectively deliver a variety of information that includes care plans, methods of treatment, care team names, safety plans, schedules, and much more. Everything relies on having a whiteboard that is effectively designed to deliver this type of information, which can stay written on the board long after it has been delivered verbally. Patient families and other visitors do not even have to be in the room when the information was relayed through a provider. Whether or not they were present, family members can always refer back to the patient room whiteboard when they need to understand what is happening and why. 

For ideas on how to design a whiteboard that can be used to communicate effectively, download our whiteboard Idea Book. 


Understand Who is Important to the Patient 

When working with a patient in a facility, it’s important to understand who everyone is and how they fit into the patient’s life. Will they be helping them make decisions when it comes to their care? Will they be making the decisions for the patient? Should they not be present when sensitive information is being delivered? Communicating effectively means understanding the audience, reading the room, and having open conversations with patients and any other people present. Find out who the other people are and what can be discussed in their presence/written on the whiteboard for all to see. 


Encourage Engagement 

Whiteboards are not only there as a decoration, they work best when they are used by patient, providers and their family members. It can become a normal part of a care team’s routine to review the whiteboard with all parties, explain its purpose, and talk about how it will be used during treatment. This can help increase engagement with the communication tool and improve the desired outcome. Studies have shown that proper whiteboard use and engagement can lead to increases in the knowledge of patient families regarding plans of care, safety issues and protocols, and care team information, all which are essential to providing a great experience for everyone, both patients and their family members who are with them during their stay. 


Ready to see how Ghent Healthcare whiteboards can make a difference in your facility? Get in touch with us today to discuss your whiteboard and communication needs.