The main priority of the patients and families who suffer critical illness is recover the state of health, relegating to a second flat in the most of the occasions the emotional welfare, even their own privacy and in many cases, accepting that they can´t choose in their “role” of sick persons.

Disease threatens two fundamental pillars of human dignity: privacy and autonomy. The dependence imposed by the disease puts the patien in a situation of vulnerability but he/she has specific rights in this context, and the caregiver is who must know and respect them, being our responsibility ensure the privacy, both of people autonomous and the patients who can´t do effective this right.

When we speak about respect to the privacy of the patient, from the profesional point of view, we usually think about preserve the identity of patient in the medical records, the custody of the clinical documentation, etc. forgetting that also is the set of feelings and thoughts that a person keeps inside, and that are an essential part essential of them.



In our project One year, 12 months for 12 commitments, we dedicate the month of September to remember that respect the privacy of the patient more vulnerable, must be a priority in the IC-HU. Some time ago we wrote this “DECALOGUE of good practice to ensure the privacy of the critical ill patient”, that today we share with you all:

1. Respect to body intimacy: we will ask permission to undress, touch, explore… the body of the other, previously explaining what we are going to do. With special delicacy at the time of the toilet.

2. Respect to physical space: we will keep the closed the ICU box if the patient prefers it, noticing him/her when we are going to come into the box.

3. Collection of information of the person attended: we will ask only the necessary, we aren´t entitled to ask everything.

4. Information between teammates involved in caring for the person: we will evaluate which information is transmitted to the team and what is reserved for one’s self, if does not provide any benefit to the clinical process and it may violate the privacy of the patient.

5. Telephone information: we won’t share clinical information by phone on a routine basis. We can pose it in individualized situations, with guarantees of who we are talking to, with the consent of the patient whenever is possible.

6. The respect to the privacy and the participation of the family or people linked: we will ask to the patient who want them to be informed, because they have the right to choose with who they want share the information about their state of health. The coming of age in health at the age of sixteen, being the holder of the right to information and confidentiality about his/her person.

7. Custody of medical history: we will be attentive to history, to avoid undesirable interference in the privacy of the patient.

8. Privacy with the visiting policies: during the admission patients have the right to choose who can visit them. We will try to improve the image of the patient’s face to the visit, to reinforce their self-esteem.

9. Privacy in the transfer of patients to complementary test or to other zones of the hospital: we will be careful, paying attention to the physical exhibition during the transfers.

10. Respect for the social and public image of the patient: giving information is not allowed to the media (accidents, assaults, public figures, etc.), unless there is an express authorization.

Dra. Maria Rojas
Intensive Care Doctor
Hospital Comarcal Infanta Margarita, Córdoba