Hearing that a close relative or loved one has been hospitalized comes as a huge shock to most of us. Naturally, you want to get to the person quickly, see if they are okay and be with them on the road to recovery. But what if you don’t know exactly which hospital your relative is in? If, for example, there are several clinics in the vicinity or one simply does not get any information about them?
We tell you what rights you have as a relative and how to find your loved one fastest.
A relative is in the hospital – Will I be informed??
In principle: Hospitals and the nursing staff employed there as well as the physicians are bound to the medical confidentiality bound. You may issue for reasons of data protection not to give out any information about the patient, not even about whether the patient is in the hospital at all. They may only disclose information about the patient if the patient agrees to this actively agreed and this in writing and confirmed. A Exception naturally represents the situation if the patient is not in a position to give consent because, for example, he is unresponsive due to a traffic accident and is in a coma.
In such a case, the hospital must assume that the relative wants the next of kin to be notified, unless it is known that the relative has objected to this in advance. If he has not done so, the relatives are informed and the hospital provides information about the stay. In order to be able to inform the relatives, however, it must be possible to clearly identify the patient in some way. Since most people have an ID card with them, this will usually not be a problem. If the patient does not have any identification documents or anything else that could indicate his or her identity, the relatives cannot be given any information about the patient by telephone.
How else do I find out which hospital a relative was delivered to?
If one becomes as a relative not informed by telephone of a loved one’s hospitalization, for example, because no phone number could be located, this can be a little more elaborate. Often several hospitals in the surrounding area come into question, into which the relative could be delivered.
So how do you find a patient in the hospital?
Unfortunately, the only way to find out whether someone has been admitted to hospital is to check the hospitals in question to call or personally to drive by and to ask at the reception. The same applies here as for information by telephone. In general, doctors and hospital staff are bound by medical confidentiality. This will only be cancelled if the patient has given written consent that information about his or her stay may be given out or if the patient is no longer able to communicate this himself or herself. If he has not objected to this in advance, you as the relative will be told on the phone or on the spot whether the patient is in the particular hospital. So, unfortunately, you have no choice but to search the local hospitals.
To be safe: Health care proxy for the closest relatives
In order to be really sure that you will be admitted to the hospital in the event of a Hospital admission of a close relative can also be informed immediately and even more detailed information To obtain information about the health condition of the relative, you should health care proxy issue for your closest relatives. Such powers of attorney are available for download on the Internet, for example from the Federal Ministry of Justice.
If you have these with you in an emergency, there are no more legal questions about whether a relative should really be informed and how much information he or she will receive. This is especially important if you want to have more information about the patient, such as the room number. Here one goes with a power of attorney on the safe side. Of course, you do not always have them with you. However, it is often sufficient if this power of attorney is kept at home in a folder with all the important documents and the close relatives know where they can find it.