Shift-to-shift handoff: A comparison between two methods of conveying essential information in a University Hospital in North-eastern Italy

Rosanna Quattrin, Laura Calligaris, Carla Londero, Enrico Zalateu, Silvio Brusaferro


Objective: The present study focuses on effective communication among nurses during a shift-to-shift handoff.

Methods: The completeness of data conveyed during the shift-to-shift handoff was compared in two University Hospital Units, before and after the introduction of a pre-printed sheet summarizing the most important patients’ piece of information. The study took place in a University Hospital located in North-eastern Italy. In the first study phase 111 single patient’s handoffs were analyzed: 52 in Operative Unit 1 (OU1) and 59 in Operative Unit 1 (OU2). In the second phase of the study 39 handoffs were considered: 19 in the OU1 and 20 in the OU2. The intervention consisted of the introduction of a pre-printed semi structured sheet summarizing the patients’ information. The main outcome measures were the patients’ information written on the form and the data available for consultation by colleagues on the next work shift.

Results: The four categories of items that most significantly increased after the introduction of the semi-structured form were respectively: neurological status, vital signs, pain assessment and wound care. However, none of the items that showed a reduction in citation, both for single OU and overall, were significant.

Conclusions: This study shows how the introduction of a pre-printed form forces the operators to hold in consideration important critical values of a patient, thus bettering the quality and safety of the handoffs.

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Journal of Hospital Administration

ISSN 1927-6990(Print)   ISSN 1927-7008(Online)

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