Do you stay in contact with the family after you leave case?

by PedsRN810 (New) New Nurse

Has 5 years experience.

I was curious what everyone's thoughts are on staying in contact with the family after you leave the case (to work a different area, take on a new case, etc.)? If you're a PDN, what have you done in the past? It seems to be the norm for this family for previous nurses to stay in contact with the family either by adding them on social media, phone calls, or some coming to visit the child and family at their home and becoming like a family friend. It's not the case for all nurses, but some. I have been debating leaving my particular case (honestly, possibly leaving nursing in general due to stress.. ) and I can already tell that the family is not going to be happy if I were to leave. (I would also be super sad as I've been with this patient a while). I'm not the best with boundaries (something I'm trying to work on personally/professionally) and I feel like leaving would be a messy situation so that's why I want to have a clear plan in mind of what to say regarding future communication with the family. At the end of the day, I want to be the best nurse I can be, but I have found that nursing is almost too overwhelming for me. 

Kitiger, RN

Specializes in Private Duty Pediatrics. Has 43 years experience. 1,639 Posts

I had one mom - whose family moved - tell me clearly that she wanted to keep in touch, and we have. She is a good friend. Another mom - whose son grew up and became independent - was facebook friends with one of my friends, and reached out to me. We remain friends.

A case can end for several different types of reasons. 

1. The family "fired" me: I stay away.

2. The child died: I go to the funeral if it is public or if I'm invited. If the family reaches out to me, I might stay in touch. I do not reach out to them.

3. The family moves away: if the family reaches out to me, I might stay in touch. I do not reach out to them.

4. I leave because I've had enough: I stay away.

When I say, "I do not reach out to them", I don't mean I actively avoid them. If I see them about town I'll say "Hi". But I do not try to insert myself into their lives.


38,332 Posts

There has only been one family in almost thirty years of doing extended care nursing that I have had any desire to communicate with concerning the patient's current well-being.  I would have remained on the case had not the private insurer discontinued paying for nursing care "until the next surgery" in "a few years", long after I had to leave the area.