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Why You Should Involve Patients in Nursing Handoffs

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, for HealthLeaders Media, December 3, 2013

On the flip side, the ANA-GE Healthcare study showed that 33% of nurses said that that "poor communication among nurses at handoff" is something that has increased the risk of patient safety incidents in their hospital in the past 12 months.

Now, a new study from St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto is providing additional firepower to the idea that involving patients in handoffs improves patient safety and satisfaction. Published last month in the Journal of Nursing Care Quality, the study shows that patients have a better understanding of and engagement in their care when handoffs are performed at the bedside. Now, after a 2011 pilot program, nurses on every medical and surgical unit at St. Michael's Hospital perform handover at their patient's bedside.

HealthLeaders Media caught up with the study's lead author, Lianne P. Jeffs, RN, PhD, St. Michael's Hospital Volunteer Association Chair in Nursing Research, via email to ask her about some of the study's key takeaways for nurses and nurse leaders.

HealthLeaders Media: Which of your study results did you find most important/surprising?

Jeffs: Bedside nurse handover is beneficial to both clinicians and patients as they improve and strengthen communication between both parties; reduce errors (e.g., medication); and strengthen the concept of patient-centered care. It is important to note that some patients may not want to participate in this type of handover and their preference should be acknowledged and accepted.

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1 comments on "Why You Should Involve Patients in Nursing Handoffs"


Mary K Parker (12/3/2013 at 4:36 PM)
I love bedside shift report! Many of our patients enjoy being the center of attention and providing input to the oncoming staff. As a supervisor, I discovered that was one of the best ways to nip derisive or derogatory remarks about patients to oncomin shift members. It completely changes the dialogue when we communicate in front of the patient. We have also found that it's one way to minimize the "us versus them" when things are discovered undone later in the shift. When these things are addressed at shift report (missing medications, room cleanliness, etc), it creates a more cohesive team, regardless of which side of the team you're on.