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Participating in Clinical Rounds

Doctors, nurses, therapists and other members of the care team meet regularly to discuss their patients. The team visits each patient to see how they're going, share information and to review their plan of care.

At these important meetings discussions include:

  • changes in your health over the last 12 or 24 hours
  • how you're doing at the moment
  • new test results
  • the plan of care for that day
  • when you may be ready for discharge.

Each person in the health care team will give their opinion and ideas. The admitting doctor usually makes the final decisions. 

Your role during clinical rounds

We encourage you and your family to take part in discussions when the health care team is making their clinical rounds, by:

  • telling them how you're feeling and anything you've noticed that may be important to your care
  • asking questions about your care plan, medications, tests etc.
  • giving your view about planned care and tell the team what you think will help.

Your involvement in clinical rounds can help prevent misunderstandings and medical errors, improve safety and openness and help you get home sooner.

How to be part of clinical rounds

Ask your nurse or doctor when rounds take place, and let the health care team know that you want to be part of the discussions. If rounds take place early in the morning, let the team know if you want to be woken up.

If you won't be there during rounds, ask how you can share information with the team and find out what has been discussed about your care and what plans or decisions have been made about you.

Let staff know if you would like an interpreter with you during rounds.

Sometimes, the health care team may discuss different diagnoses or treatments. This is part of the process of making the best care plan for you. Don't hesitate to ask questions at any time.

Find out how long the health care team will spend with you during rounds and what they will be discussing. Make the most of this time by writing down important information and questions beforehand.

If you don't have the chance during rounds to discuss something you want to, ask staff when you will have another chance.

When the team arrives for rounds, introduce yourself by your preferred name. If you are not the patient, tell them how you're related to the patient.

We hope you will ask lots of questions and won't be afraid to challenge something – you know yourself best and your information can stop potential issues before they occur.

Let the health care team know how you felt about participating in rounds: What worked well? What could have been better? This improves your care experiences as well as that of other patients.