Transferring the responsibility of caring for a patient between two nurses is commonly referred to as change-of-shift report or handoff report.
This report ensures continuity of care across time. It is best done, at least partially, at the patient’s bedside so both nurses can verify the patient’s current status and appearance. This gives the patient a chance to participate in their own care and correct any wrong information.
Consistent and thorough communication between nurses is essential to ensuring quality patient care and positive outcomes.
iSBAR is intended for use when calling a healthcare provider. It is also used for shift report communication.
PACE is another design for a clear patient handoff report.
The Joint Commission has identified change-of-shift report as a common source of communication errors and, therefore, patient care errors. Delivering report at the patient’s bedside ensures that the patient feels confident about their care in addition to feeling respect and dignity from their nurses. As a bonus, this can help reduce non-essential information, including bias, such as stating that the patient was “difficult.”
No matter how handoff communication is structured, adhere to this advice:
- Frame your patients with positive vibes.
- Be clear and to the point.
- Ask for clarification when needed.
- Go to the patient’s bedside to ensure the picture in the room matches report.
- Write down the information needed in a consistent format.
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