Talk more to patients' families

This issue focuses on communication with patients' families, personal protective equipment, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Hospitalists talk to patients' families every day, but such practice has not necessarily made for perfect interactions. This month's main story offers advice on working more closely and compatibly with families to achieve everyone's shared goal, that is, the best possible outcome for the patient. Solutions range from big changes like revamping rounds to small alterations in communication style.

A feature story in this issue looks at another routine hospital activity that hasn't yet been perfected—the donning and doffing of personal protective equipment (PPE). A recent study revealed how commonly clinicians taking infection precautions make mistakes that could spread disease, so the article provides a list of PPE do's and don'ts from experts in the field.

On the clinical side, another article focuses on the extra steps hospitalists can take to optimize care for patients hospitalized with COPD exacerbations. There's more to do than prescribing medications and considering rehab, the experts say, including analyzing patients' cardiovascular risks and enabling them to engage in self-management. Shifting focus to diabetes, the right and wrong ways to treat diabetic ketoacidosis are reviewed in a Morning Report.

This month's Q&A and Success Story are concerned with physician well-being. The Q&A investigates the link between physician burnout and medical errors, while the Success Story describes a coaching program that provided support and guidance to medical residents. Have some guidance for us? Please send an email.

Stacey Butterfield