Chapter 2: Strategies to assess and engage with families

Identifying the family spokesperson

“I am interested in finding the identified leader of the family who will help guide family members through the process. Working together with this particular family member helps as they have a history and way of speaking to the rest of the family that we just don’t have”. - ICU Nurse.

It can be very helpful to identify the person who is the spokesperson for the family and can be a conduit for information between the family and the team.

  • Ensure that the rest of the family is comfortable with this arrangement. 
  • Be aware that this role can put great pressure on the person and can adversely affect them. In such circumstances, you may need to identify an alternate who can share the responsibility.

It’s common for a spokesperson to be a health care professional. Remember that this person is first and foremost a family member who will need your help in managing this dual role.