Releasing information regarding a patient’s condition
When the media inquiry includes the patient’s name, and the patient is listed in the facility directory, the NAH Public Relations representative can release a general description of the patient’s condition that does not communicate specific medical information. No other description of the patient’s illness or injury will be released.
NAH uses the following terms to describe a patient’s condition;
- Undetermined – Patient is awaiting physician and/or assessment.
- Good – Vital signs are stable and within normal limits. Patient is conscious and comfortable. Indicators are excellent.
- Fair – Vital signs are stable and within normal limits. Patient is acutely ill. Indicators are questionable.
- Serious – Vital signs may be unstable and not within normal limits. Patient is acutely ill. Indicators are unfavorable.
- Critical – Vital signs are unstable and not within normal limits. Patient may be unconscious. Indicators are unfavorable.
- Treated and released – Patient received treatment but was not admitted to the facility.
- Treated and transferred – Patient received treatment and has been transferred from the facility.
- Death – The death of a patient is considered a condition and may be released if the patient is listed in the patient directory. However, this information can be released only after the patient’s next of kin has been notified, or a reasonable time has passed. Information regarding the cause of death must come from the patient’s physician and its release must be approved by the patient’s legal representative; however, if the death is investigated by the coroner, questions regarding the patient’s cause of death may be referred to the coroner.