Effectiveness of different nursing handover styles for ensuring continuity of information in hospitalised patients

  • Review
  • Intervention

Authors

  • Marian Smeulers,

    Corresponding author
    1. Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Department of Quality Assurance & Process Innovation, Amsterdam, Netherlands
    • Marian Smeulers, Department of Quality Assurance & Process Innovation, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Meibergdreef 9, Amsterdam, 1105 AZ, Netherlands. m.smeulers@amc.nl.

    Search for more papers by this author
  • Cees Lucas,

    1. Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam, Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, Amsterdam, Netherlands
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Hester Vermeulen

    1. Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Department of Quality Assurance & Process Innovation, Amsterdam, Netherlands
    2. Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam, Department of Surgery, Amsterdam, Netherlands
    3. Amsterdam School of Health Professions, University of Applied Sciences Amsterdam, Faculty of Nursing, Amsterdam, Netherlands
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

Background

An accurate handover of clinical information is of great importance to continuity and safety of care. If clinically relevant information is not shared accurately and in a timely manner it may lead to adverse events, delays in treatment and diagnosis, inappropriate treatment and omission of care. During the last decade the call for interventions to improve handovers has increased. These interventions aim to reduce the risk of miscommunication, misunderstanding and the omission of critical information.

Objectives

To determine the effectiveness of interventions designed to improve hospital nursing handover, specifically:

to identify which nursing handover style(s) are associated with improved outcomes for patients in the hospital setting and which nursing handover style(s) are associated with improved nursing process outcomes.

Search methods

We searched the following electronic databases for primary studies: Cochrane EPOC Group specialised register (to 19 September 2012), Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (to 1 March 2013), MEDLINE (1950 to 1 March 2013) OvidSP, EMBASE (1947 to 1 March 2013) OvidSP, CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature) (1980 to 1 March 2013) EbscoHost and ISI Web of Knowledge (Science Citation Index and Social Sciences Citation Index) (to 9 July 2012). The Database of Abstracts of Reviews (DARE) was searched for related reviews. We screened the reference lists of included studies and relevant reviews. We also searched the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) http://www.who.int/ictrp/en/ and Current Controlled Trials www.controlled-trials.com/mrct and we conducted a search of grey literature web sites.

Selection criteria

Randomised controlled trials (RCTs or cluster-RCTs) evaluating any nursing handover style between nurses in a hospital setting with the aim of preventing adverse events or optimising the transfer of accurate essential information required for continuity of care, or both.

Data collection and analysis

Two review authors independently assessed trial quality and extracted data.

Main results

The search identified 2178 citations, 28 of which were considered potentially relevant. After independent review of the full text of these studies, no eligible studies were identified for inclusion in this review due to the absence of studies with a randomised controlled study design.

Authors' conclusions

There was no evidence available to support conclusions about the effectiveness of nursing handover styles for ensuring continuity of information in hospitalised patients because we found no studies that fulfilled the methodological criteria for this review. As a consequence, uncertainty about the most effective practice remains. Research efforts should focus on strengthening the evidence abut the effectiveness of nursing handover styles using well designed, rigorous studies. According to current knowledge, the following guiding principles can be applied when redesigning the nursing handover process: face-to-face communication, structured documentation, patient involvement and use of IT technology to support the process.

Résumé scientifique

Efficacité de différents types de transfert infirmier d’informations pour garantir la continuité des informations chez les patients hospitalisés

Contexte

La rigueur du transfert infirmier d’informations cliniques est d'une grande importance pour la continuité et la sécurité des soins. Si les informations cliniquement pertinentes ne sont pas correctement partagées au bon moment, cela peut conduire à des événements indésirables, des retards de traitement et de diagnostic, des traitements inadaptés ou une omission des soins. Au cours de la dernière décennie, la demande pour des interventions visant à améliorer le transfert infirmier d’information a augmenté. Ces interventions visent à réduire le risque de mauvaise communication, de malentendu et d’omission d’informations critiques.

Objectifs

Déterminer l'efficacité des interventions conçues pour améliorer le transfert infirmier d’information à l'hôpital, et plus particulièrement :

Identifier les types de transfert infirmier d’informations associés à de meilleurs résultats pour les patients dans le milieu hospitalier et associés à une amélioration des résultats des processus de soins infirmiers.

Stratégie de recherche documentaire

Nous avons recherché des études originales dans les bases de données électroniques suivantes : registre spécialisé du groupe Cochrane sur l'efficacité des pratiques et l'organisation des soins (jusqu'au 19 septembre 2012), registre Cochrane des essais contrôlés (CENTRAL) (jusqu'au 1er mars 2013), MEDLINE (de 1950 au 1er mars 2013), OvidSP, EMBASE (de 1947 au 1er mars 2013), OvidSP, CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature) (de 1980 au 1er mars 2013), EbscoHost et ISI Web of Knowledge (Science Citation Index et Social Sciences Citation Index) (jusqu'au 9 juillet 2012). La base des résumés des revues systématiques hors Cochrane (DARE) a été consultée pour trouver des revues connexes. Nous avons passé au crible les références bibliographiques des études incluses et des revues pertinentes. Nous avons également effectué des recherches dans le système d'enregistrement international des essais cliniques (ICTRP) de l'OMS http://www.who.int/ictrp/en/ et Current Controlled Trials www.controlled-trials.com/mrct, ainsi qu'une recherche des sites Web de la littérature grise.

Critères de sélection

Essais contrôlés randomisés (ECR ou ECR en grappes) évaluant tout type de transfert infirmier d’informations entre les infirmiers en milieu hospitalier dans le but de prévenir les événements indésirables ou d’optimiser le transfert des informations essentielles et précises nécessaires pour la continuité des soins, ou les deux.

Recueil et analyse des données

Deux auteurs de la revue ont indépendamment évalué la qualité des essais et extrait les données.

Résultats principaux

La recherche a identifié 2 178 références, dont 28 ont été considérées comme potentiellement pertinentes. Après revue indépendante du texte intégral de ces études, aucune étude éligible n’a été identifiée pour inclusion dans cette revue en raison de l'absence d'études présentant un plan d'étude contrôlée randomisée.

Conclusions des auteurs

Aucune preuve n'était disponible pour soutenir des conclusions sur l'efficacité des méthodes de transfert infirmier d’informations pour garantir la continuité des informations chez les patients hospitalisés, car nous n'avons trouvé aucune étude remplissant les critères méthodologiques définis pour cette revue. En conséquence, l’incertitude demeure quant à la pratique la plus efficace. Les futures recherches devraient s'attacher à obtenir des preuves sur l'efficacité des méthodes de transfert infirmier d’informations en utilisant des études bien planifiées et rigoureuses. Selon les connaissances actuelles, les recommandations suivantes peuvent être appliquées lors de la révision du processus de transfert infirmier d’informations : communication en face-à-face, documentation structurée, implication du patient et utilisation des technologies de l’information pour soutenir le processus.

摘要

各種護理交班方式對確保住院病患資訊連貫的效果

背景

正確交接臨床資訊,對照護的連貫性和安全性極為重要。若未正確且及時交接臨床相關資訊,可能會導致不良事件、延誤治療和診斷、不當治療和疏忽照護。在最近10年內,改善交班的介入措施已受到愈來愈多的關注。這些介入措施的目的在於降低溝通不良、誤解和疏漏重要資訊的風險。

目的

判定專為改善醫院護理交班而設計之介入措施的效果:

確認哪一種護理交班方式,可以改善病患在醫院環境內的結果,以及哪一種護理交班方式,可以改善護理過程的結果。

搜尋策略

本次文獻回顧搜尋下列電子資料庫,找尋主要試驗:考科藍EPOC群組專業註冊 (Cochrane EPOC Group specialised register) (截至2012年9月19日為止)、考科藍對照試驗中央註冊 (Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, CENTRAL) (截至2013年3月1日為止)、MEDLINE (自1950年至2013年3月1日為止) OvidSP、 EMBASE (自1947年至2013年3月1日為止) OvidSP、CINAHL (護理學與健康照護文獻累積索引 [Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature]) (自1980年至2013年3月1日) EbscoHost 和Web of Knowledge (科學引用索引和社會科學引用索引 [Science Citation Index and Social Sciences Citation Index]) (截至2012年7月9日為止)。我們搜尋文獻回顧摘要資料庫 (Database of Abstracts of Reviews, DARE),找尋相關文獻回顧,並篩選納入試驗和相關文獻回顧的參考文獻清單,此外也搜尋世界衛生組織國際臨床試驗註冊平台 (WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform, ICTRP) http://www.who.int/ictrp/en/和目前對照試驗 (Current Controlled Trials) www.controlled-trials.com/mrct,以及灰色文獻網站。

選擇標準

本次文獻回顧收錄隨機對照試驗 (randomized controlled strial, RCT) (RCT或叢集RCT),評估醫院中護理人員之間的護理交班方式,目的為預防不良事件發生,或最適當交接維持照護連貫性必須的正確重要資訊,或以上兩者。

資料收集與分析

由2位文獻回顧作者獨立評估試驗品質和萃取資料。

主要結果

本次搜尋發現2178篇引用文獻,其中有28篇文獻可能與本次文獻回顧有關。在獨立審核上述試驗的全文後,並無試驗符合本次文獻回顧的納入條件,因為並無試驗採取隨機對照試驗設計。

作者結論

因為並無試驗滿足本次文獻回顧的方法學納入條件,所以並無證據可支持我們推論護理交班方式,對確保住院病患資訊連貫性的影響,因此仍然無法確定最有效的交班方式。研究者應致力於進行設計良好而嚴謹的試驗,強化護理交班效果的相關證據。依據現有的知識,在重新設計護理交班流程時,可應用下列指導原則:面對面交班、結構式記錄、讓病患參與,並藉助IT技術支援交班流程。

譯註


翻譯者:臺北醫學大學實證醫學研究中心。
本翻譯計畫由衛生福利部補助經費,臺北醫學大學實證醫學研究中心、台灣實證醫學學會及東亞考科藍聯盟(EACA)統籌執行。

Plain language summary

What is the best nursing handover style to ensure continuity of information for hospital patients?

What is a nursing handover?

A nursing handover occurs when one nurse hands over the responsibility of care for a patient to another nurse, for example, at the end of a nursing shift. On average, nursing handovers occur three times a day for each patient.

What styles of nursing handover exist?

In daily practice handovers are done in various ways, some handovers are done through nurses talking to each other (verbal handovers). Others are done through nurses reading the patient’s medical notes or through a combination of reading and talking to each other. In some cases they are done at the patient’s bedside, so that the patient can contribute, if desired.

Why does the style of nursing handovers need to be investigated?

When a nurse hands over responsibility of care to another nurse there is an opportunity for error if all the important medical information is not shared thoroughly and efficiently. Failing to mention - or grasp - information may result in delays in treatment or diagnosis for the patient, inappropriate treatment, or failure to provide appropriate care. Consequently, an accurate handover of clinical information is essential to ensure continuity of care and patients’ safety.

The purpose and findings of this review

This review tried to find out which nursing handover style works best.

In March 2013 the review authors conducted a wide search for suitable relevant studies (randomised controlled studies) that compared different styles of nursing handover. However, they were not able to identify any randomised controlled studies that investigated the question, and so could draw no conclusions. Further research in this area is urgently needed.

Résumé simplifié

Quel est le meilleur mode de transfert infirmier d’informations pour garantir la continuité de l’information pour les patients hospitalisés ?

Qu'est-ce qu'un transfert infirmier d’informations ?

Un transfert infirmier d’informations survient lorsqu'un infirmier transfère la responsabilité des soins d'un patient à un autre infirmier, par exemple à la fin du service. En moyenne, le transfert infirmier d’informations survient trois fois par jour pour chaque patient.

Quels types de transfert infirmier d’informations existent ?

Dans la pratique quotidienne, le transfert infirmier d’informations est réalisé de différentes manières. Parfois il se fait à travers un échange verbal entre infirmiers (transfert verbal). D'autres fois, le transfert est réalisé par la lecture du dossier médical du patient ou par une combinaison de la lecture et de la parole. Dans certains cas, le transfert est réalisé au chevet du patient, de sorte que celui-ci puisse contribuer, si nécessaire.

Pourquoi les différents types de transfert infirmier d’informations doivent être étudiés ?

Lorsqu'un infirmier confie la responsabilité des soins à un autre infirmier, des erreurs peuvent se produire si toutes les informations médicales importantes ne sont pas partagées de manière exhaustive et efficace. Echouer à mentionner ou à collecter des informations peut entraîner des retards de traitement ou de diagnostic pour le patient, un traitement inapproprié ou l’absence de soins appropriés. Par conséquent, le transfert exact d’informations cliniques est essentiel pour assurer la continuité des soins et la sécurité des patients.

L'objectif et les résultats de cette revue

Cette revue a essayé d'identifier les types de transfert infirmier d’informations qui fonctionnent le mieux.

En mars 2013, les auteurs de la revue ont réalisé une vaste recherche des études pertinentes à inclure (études contrôlées randomisées) qui comparaient différents types de transfert infirmier d’informations. Cependant, ils n’ont pas été en mesure d'identifier d'études contrôlées randomisées examinant cette question, et n’ont donc pu tirer aucune conclusion. Des recherches supplémentaires dans ce domaine sont urgemment nécessaires.

Notes de traduction

Traduit par: French Cochrane Centre 20th October, 2014
Traduction financée par: Financeurs pour le Canada : Instituts de Recherche en Santé du Canada, Ministère de la Santé et des Services Sociaux du Québec, Fonds de recherche du Québec-Santé et Institut National d'Excellence en Santé et en Services Sociaux; pour la France : Ministère en charge de la Santé

淺顯易懂的口語結論

哪一種護理交班方式最能確保住院病患的資訊連貫性?

什麼是護理交班?

當某位護理人員必須將照護某位病患的職責,交接予另一位護理人員時,就需要進行護理交班,例如護理人員下班時。一般而言,每位病患每天必須進行3次護理交班。

現行有哪些護理交班方式?

平常的護理交班有許多種方式,有些護理交班是透過某位護理人員告知另一位護理人員 (口頭交班)。其他的交班方式還包括病患病歷上的護理記錄,或同時進行書面記錄和口頭交班。有時會在病患的病床旁進行交班,如此病患也可以提出意見。

為什麼必須研究護理交班的方式?

當某位護理人員將照護職責移交給另一位護理人員時,若未有效率且完整傳遞重要的醫療資訊,就可能發生失誤。忘記提到或未能捕捉到資訊,可能延誤病患的治療或診斷、使病患接受不當治療,或無法提供適當照護。因此正確移交臨床資訊,對確保照護的連貫性和病患安全極為重要。

本次文獻回顧的目的和結果

本次文獻回顧試圖確認最適當的護理交班方式。

文獻回顧作者於2013年3月進行廣泛的搜尋,找尋合適的相關試驗 (隨機對照試驗),比較各種護理交班方式。不過並未找到任何探究這個問題的隨機試驗,因此無法提出結論。此領域迫切需要進一步的研究。

譯註


翻譯者:臺北醫學大學實證醫學研究中心。
本翻譯計畫由衛生福利部補助經費,臺北醫學大學實證醫學研究中心、台灣實證醫學學會及東亞考科藍聯盟(EACA)統籌執行。

Laički sažetak

Koji je najbolji sestrinski stil primopredaje za osiguranje kontinuiteta informacija kod hospitaliziranih bolesnika?

Što je sestrinska primopredaja?

Sestrinska primopredaja se zbiva kad jedna medicinska sestra odgovornost za njegu pacijenta preda drugoj sestri, na primjer, nakon završene smjene. Prosječno se sestrinska primopredaja zbiva tri puta na dan za svakog pacijenta.

Kakvi stilovi sestrinske primopredaje postoje?

U svakodnevnoj praksi primopredaje se izvode na različite načine, pri čemu se neke primopredaje obavljaju kroz razgovor između medicinskih sestara (verbalna primopredaja). Druge se izvode kroz sestrinsko čitanje pacijentove dokumentacije ili kroz kombinaciju čitanja i razgovora među medicinskim sestrama. U nekim slučajevima to se radi pokraj pacijentova kreveta, kako bi i pacijent mogao nešto reći, ako želi.

Zašto treba istražiti stilove sestrinske primopredaje?

Kada medicinska sestra preda odgovornost za njegu drugoj sestri postoji mogućnost nastanka pogreške ako se sve važne medicinske informacije ne podijele temeljito i učinkovito. Zaboraviti spomenuti - ili shvatiti - informacije može dovesti do odgode liječenja ili postavljanja dijagnoze kod pacijenta, neprimjerenog liječenja, ili pogreške u pružanju odgovarajuće skrbi. Prema tome, važna je precizna primopredaja medicinskih informacija kako bi se osigurao kontinuitet skrbi i pacijentove sigurnosti.

Cilj i rezultati ovog Cochrane sustavnog pregleda

Ovaj Cochrane sustavni pregled pokušao je istražiti koji stil sestrinske primopredaje je najbolji.

U ožujku 2013. autori sustavnog pregleda napravili su opsežan pregled literature kako bi našli odgovarajuća istraživanja (nasumična kontrolirana ispitivanja) koja uspoređuju različite stilove sestrinske primopredaje. Međutim, nisu uspjeli pronaći nijedno nasumično kontrolirano istraživanje koje istražuje to pitanje, pa se ne može izvući nikakav zaključak. Daljnja istraživanja na ovom području su hitno potrebna.

Bilješke prijevoda

Cochrane Hrvatska
Prevela: Božena Armanda
Ovaj sažetak preveden je u okviru volonterskog projekta prevođenja Cochrane sažetaka. Uključite se u projekt i pomozite nam u prevođenju brojnih preostalih Cochrane sažetaka koji su još uvijek dostupni samo na engleskom jeziku. Kontakt: cochrane_croatia@mefst.hr

Laienverständliche Zusammenfassung

Welche ist die beste Möglichkeit der Pflegeübergabe im Krankenhaus um eine Kontinuität der Informationen in der Pflege sicherzustellen?

Was ist eine Pflegeübergabe?

Ein Pflegeübergabe erfolgt, wenn Pflegepersonal die Verantwortung der Pflege für einen Patienten auf anderes Pflegepersonal, zum Beispiel am Ende einer Schicht, übergibt. Durchschnittlich finden pro Patient dreimal täglich Pflegeübergaben statt.

Welche Möglichkeiten der Pflegeübergabe gibt es?

In der täglichen Praxis werden Pflegeübergaben auf verschiedene Art und Weise durchgeführt. Bei manchen spricht sich das Pflegepersonal ab (verbale Pflegeübergabe). In anderen Fällen, liest das Pflegepersonal die Notizen in der Patientenakte, oder das Lesen und die verbale Übergabe werden kombiniert. In manchen Fällen werden sie am Krankenbett durchgeführt, sodass der Patient, wenn gewünscht, auch etwas beitragen kann.

Warum muss die Art und Weise der Pflegeübergabe untersucht werden?

Wenn das Pflegepersonal die Verantwortung überträgt, besteht die Möglichkeit für Fehler, wenn nicht alle wichtigen medizinischen Informationen sorgfältig und effizient mitgeteilt werden. Wenn Informationen nicht erwähnt oder nicht verstanden werden, kann es dazu führen, dass die Behandlung oder Diagnose des Patienten verzögert wird, eine falsche Behandlung oder Pflege eingeleitet werden. Deswegen ist eine akkurate Pflegeübergabe essentiell für die Kontinuität der Pflege und der Sicherheit des Patienten.

Die Ziele und Ergebnisse dieses Reviews

Dieser Review hatte zum Ziel herauszufinden, welche Pflegeübergabe am besten funktioniert.

Im März 2013 führten die Autoren eine großangelegte Suche nach geeigneten, randomisierten kontrollierten Studien durch, die die unterschiedlichen Arten der Pflegeübergabe verglichen. Es wurden jedoch keine randomisierten kontrollierten Studien gefunden, die die Frage untersuchten, weshalb keine Schlussfolgerungen gezogen werden konnten. Mehr Forschung auf diesem Gebiet ist dringend notwendig.

Anmerkungen zur Übersetzung

I. Töws, Koordination durch Cochrane Schweiz.

Background

In its 2001 report, 'Crossing the Quality Chasm' the Institute of Medicine (IOM) stated that handovers provide an opportunity for error and that “in a safe system, information is not lost, inaccessible, or forgotten in transitions” (IOM 2001). In a 2009 hospital survey on patient safety-culture, hospital staff respondents reported that “important patient care information is often lost during shift changes and patient transfers” (AHRQ 2009). Inadequate and ineffective interpersonal communication between healthcare professionals is an often-cited key factor contributing to errors and procedural mistakes, which may lead to adverse events (AEs). Breakdowns in communication were implicated as one of the main causes of AEs reported to the Joint Commission in the USA between 2004 and 2010 (Joint Commission 2011). In an Australian study of more than 14,000 admissions, 17% were associated with an AE; in 11% of these communication problems were found to be a contributing factor (Wilson 1995).

Handovers of patient care thus introduce a 'vulnerable gap' that may result in AEs if clinically relevant information is not shared accurately and in a timely manner (Bhabra 2007; Handover Europe 2011; Pothier 2005). Other consequences of a poor handover might be delays in diagnosis or treatment (Joint Commission 2002), inappropriate treatment and omission of care. However, inefficiency due to rework, redundant communications and activities, may result in lower satisfaction for both healthcare provider and patient, increased costs, increased length of hospital stay and more readmissions (Patterson 2010). As a result, it is now well recognised that an accurate handover of clinical information is of great importance to continuity and safety of care.

This review will focus on the nursing handover as an instrument for ensuring continuity of care for hospitalised patients. This specific scope is chosen as nurses are pivotal in ensuring continuity of care in a 24-hour seven-days-a-week environment, not only since they are present both day and night (Messam 2009), but also because they are seen as a communication partner for all healthcare professionals and are often the (in)formal co-ordinators of the increasingly complex care that is given within hospitals (IOM 2010). To fulfil this role a complete and up to date picture of the patient's care plan has to be handed over frequently - on average three times a day and two times during each nurse's shift - and, due to frequent part-time working among nurses, handovers occur between many different nurses. Usually handovers are time-consuming, lack consistency and are varied in style (Clark 2009; Kerr 2011; Sexton 2004), and nursing handovers are no different. Furthermore, nurses, just like most healthcare professionals, may receive no formal training in the handover process other than by modelling from peers and superiors (Van Eaton 2010). As a consequence, the nursing handover is a vulnerable process with potential to result in AEs, unnecessary duplication of work or sub-optimal care.

Although the literature so far has not provided a thorough or agreed definition of the concept of handover and its scope, continuity of patient care is its primary function (Sherlock 1995; Thurgood 1995). The distinctive feature that distinguishes a handover from other (in)formal communication about patients is the transfer of professional responsibility for the patient (Cohen 2010). Responsibility deals with the transfer of accountability for the quality, safety and satisfaction of the patient. Within this review we define a handover as the exchange of specific information about a patient from one health professional to another, or from one team of health professionals to another, accompanied by the transfer of responsibility for that patient with the purpose of ensuring the continuity and safety of the patient's care (Cohen 2010; Jeffcott 2009). The scope of this review covers the exchange of information about content (the 'what' aspect), as well as the way, or method, in which it is communicated (the 'how' aspect) (Murphy 2009). Content can be structured (e.g. templates, mnemonics, checklists, or a combination of these) or unstructured. Method refers to the communication methods, e.g. verbal, written or taped. In addition to the content and method, the location (the ‘where’ aspect) of the handover may also differ. Location can be either bedside or office-based. We define a handover style as any combination of the above-mentioned characteristics, that is, content ('what'), method ('how') and location ('where') (Kerr 2002; Sexton 2004).

Literature frequently identifies the following nursing handover styles: bedside, verbal, nonverbal and taped (Messam 2009).

  • Bedside: located at the patient’s bedside, which promotes patient and nurse face-to-face interaction and encourages patients’ verbal participation, thus making the patient central to the information exchange process (Greaves 1999; Kassean 2005).

  • Verbal: located in an office setting, the nurse responsible for a group of patients exchanges relevant documented information (Bourne 2000; Lally 1999).

  • Non-verbal: located in an office setting, nurses inform themselves by reading the patient health record, involving progress notes, medication charts, observation charts and nursing care plans (Taylor 2002).

  • Taped: located in an office setting, the nurse in charge collects the relevant information and records this onto an audiotape so that the oncoming shift can listen at a convenient time (Dowding 2001).

During the last decade the call for interventions to improve handovers has increased (AMA 2006; AHRQ 2009; BMA 2005; IOM 2001; Joint Commission 2002; WHO 2006). These interventions aim to reduce the risk of miscommunication, misunderstanding and the omission of critical information, therefore, it is important to find out what constitutes an effective nursing handover style (Patterson 2010; Riesenberg 2010).

Description of the condition

As mentioned above, handovers of patient care may result in AEs if clinically relevant information is not shared accurately and in a timely manner. Other consequences of a less than perfect handover might be delays in treatment and diagnosis, inappropriate treatment and omission of care. However, inefficiency due to rework, redundant communications and redundant activities may also result in lower satisfaction for both healthcare provider and patient, increased costs, increased length of hospital stay and more readmissions.

Description of the intervention

We considered any nursing handover style (‘what’, ‘how’ and ‘where’) between nurses in a hospital setting with the aim of preventing AEs or optimising the transfer of accurate essential information required for continuity of care, or both. This includes:

  • nurses' shift changes on nursing wards providing different levels of care, such as: regular ward-based care, high-dependency care and intensive care unit (ICU);

  • nurse-to-nurse transfers during a shift to balance workload;

  • nurse-to-nurse interdepartmental transfers, such as between nursing wards, from the emergency department (ED) to the nursing ward, from the recovery unit to the nursing ward, from the ICU to the nursing ward or the other way round.

The review does not include:

  • handover from a primary care setting to a hospital setting by a primary care physician or from the ambulance to the ED;

  • handovers across different health professional groups, such as from a physician to a nurse;

  • handovers from hospital to home or to another healthcare facility upon discharge.

How the intervention might work

Generally handover interventions aim to incorporate a tool or routine into practice that implements a standardised approach to the handover, including written information and standardised communication patterns allowing for questions or for information to be read back. Use of the tool or routine is intended to support the exchange or availability of information about the patient (or both) for the next caregiver, resulting in improved continuity of care through:

  • improved recall of information provided;

  • improved compliance with the plan of care;

  • improved patient involvement;

  • timely delivery of the care;

  • a decrease in incongruent information (information given at handover that is different from the actual condition);

  • a decrease in omissions (information that if left out of the handover that could increase inefficiency);

  • a reduction of time spent resolving issues from incomplete communication at handover.

Therefore, an effective and efficient handover style may reduce the number of AEs and inefficiencies resulting from an ineffective handover, and also reduce the amount of time spent on handovers, thereby freeing-up time that can be spent in direct patient care (Sexton 2004).

Why it is important to do this review

Since handovers have been identified as a primary communication moment, many organisations, institutions and hospitals have initiated quality projects to improve handovers. In the 'High 5s Project', launched by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2006, one of the five patient safety problems targeted was 'Communication failures during patient handovers' (WHO 2006). Literature on handovers is accumulating and thus it is important to understand the effectiveness of interventions aimed at improving nursing handovers and consequently ensuring continuity of care, as well as preventing AEs. Since the WHO and national government agencies are promoting handover interventions to improve patient safety (WHO 2007), these policy decisions should be based on evidence of the effectiveness of these interventions. There are risks involved in implementing interventions for which evidence of effectiveness is lacking: valuable resources can be wasted and clinicians might become reluctant to implement other measures. The aim of this review is to synthesise the evidence from high-quality studies in order to determine the most effective nursing handover style.

Objectives

To determine the effectiveness of interventions designed to improve hospital nursing handover, specifically:

to identify which nursing handover style(s) are associated with improved outcomes for patients in the hospital setting and which nursing handover style(s) are associated with improved nursing process outcomes.

Methods

Criteria for considering studies for this review

Types of studies

We considered randomised controlled trials (RCTs or cluster-RCTs) to be eligible for inclusion (according to the definition of the Cochrane Effective Practice and Organisation of Care (EPOC) Group). We considered published and unpublished studies to be eligible and we imposed no language restrictions.

Types of participants

All patients irrespective of age, gender or condition; and nurses in either general, teaching or university hospitals.

Types of interventions

Any intervention designed to improve nursing handover in a hospital setting compared with a previous or existing hospital nursing handover practice or an alternative intervention as defined by the study. Interventions could target a combination of the content ('what'), communication method ('how') and location ('where') aspects of the handover.

Content could be structured (e.g. including templates, mnemonics or checklists, or a combination of these) or unstructured.

Communication method refers to verbal, written or taped handovers - used individually or in a combination - possibly combined with standardised communication patterns allowing for questions or for information to be read back. Written handovers can be facilitated by either paper-based or electronic systems.

Location could be either bedside- or office-based.

If at least one of the above-mentioned characteristics constituted part of a handover style it could be included.

We decided to included comparisons such as:

  • non-verbal handover in an office setting versus a verbal handover in an office setting;

  • non-verbal handover based on a structured summary versus non-verbal handover as in common practice;

  • verbal handover at the bedside versus verbal handover in the office;

  • verbal handover in an office setting based on a structured format versus verbal handover in an office setting based on an unstructured format;

  • verbal handover at the bedside with a standardised communication approach versus verbal handover at the bedside without a standardised communication approach;

  • verbal handover in an office setting using the read back communication principle versus verbal handover in an office setting as in common practice.

If different comparisons were found, these would be taken into account, as long as the intervention targeted one or more of the following characteristics: content (structured, semi-structured or unstructured), method (e.g. verbal, written and taped) or location of the handover (e.g. bedside or office-based).

Types of outcome measures

Primary outcomes
  • Patient outcomes: any objective measure for preventable AE (patient safety) measured by, for example:

    • medication errors;

    • complications;

    • sentinel events; or

    • mortality (Patterson 2010).

  • Process of care outcomes (nurse-related): any objective measure for the transfer of accurate essential information required for continuity of care (Patterson 2010), such as:

    • improved recall of information provided (measured, for example, by number of data points: number correct, number omitted, number incorrect);

    • improved compliance with the plan of care (measured, for example, by adherence indicators);

    • timely delivery of the care (measured, for example, by time difference between planned delivery and actual delivery of care);

    • a decrease in incongruent information (information given at handover that is different from the actual condition);

    • a decrease in omissions (information that could increase inefficiency if left out of the handover).

Secondary outcomes
Efficiency outcomes
  • Time required for handover (either increase or decrease) in relation to the effectiveness of the handover

  • Reduction of time spent resolving issues from incomplete communication at handover

  • Reduction of preventable nursing actions: measured by, for example, double ordering or unnecessary telephone calls

We included any study that reported data for either primary or secondary outcomes.

Search methods for identification of studies

Search strategies for CENTRAL, MEDLINE, EMBASE and CINAHL were developed by a clinical librarian, in consultation with the authors and under the supervision of the Information Specialist and Trials Search Co-ordinator for the EPOC group. The Database of Abstracts of Reviews (DARE) was searched for related reviews. Searches of CENTRAL, MEDLINE, EMBASE and CINAHL were conducted initially in April 2012. Searches for the Cochrane EPOC Group Specialised Register and ISI web of Knowledge were developed and conducted in July and September 2012 by the Information Specialist and Trials Search Co-ordinator for the EPOC group. The searches of CENTRAL, MEDLINE, EMBASE and CINAHL were updated through a re-run in March 2013. All search strategies are provided in Appendices one to six.

Databases

  • Cochrane EPOC Group specialised register (to 19 September 2012) (Appendix 1)

  • Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (Issue 2, 2013) (to 1 March 2013) (Appendix 2)

  • MEDLINE (1950 to 1 March 2013) OvidSP (Appendix 3)

  • EMBASE (1947 to 1 March 2013) OvidSP (Appendix 4)

  • CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature) (1980 to 1 March 2013) EbscoHost (Appendix 5)

  • ISI Web of Knowledge (Science Citation Index and Social Sciences Citation Index) (to 9 July 2012) (Appendix 6)

The search strategies were comprised of keywords and, when available, controlled vocabulary such as MeSH (Medical Subject Headings). Keywords used included: handover, handoff, change of shift, sign out, and MeSH terms: patient transfer, patient care planning and patient care management. Neither date nor language restrictions were used. All databases were searched from their start dates forward.

Two methodological search filters were used to limit retrieval to appropriate study designs: namely, the Cochrane Highly Sensitive Search Strategy (sensitivity- and precision-maximizing version, 2008 revision) to identify randomised trials (Higgins 2011; section 6.4d); and an EPOC methodology filter to identify non-RCT designs.

Searching other resources

Grey literature

We conducted a search of the grey literature to identify studies that are not indexed in the databases listed above using the following sources:

The search terms used were: handover, handoff, sign out, shift change, inter shift, transfer.

Trial registries

The search terms used were: handover, handoff, sign out, shift change, inter shift, transfer.

We also:

  • Reviewed reference lists of relevant systematic reviews (Appendix 7).

Data collection and analysis

Selection of studies

We downloaded all titles and abstracts retrieved by the electronic searching to the reference managing database Reference Manager12. Two review authors (MS and HV) independently screened all titles and abstracts identified through the search strategies to assess which studies met the inclusion criteria. We retrieved and assessed full-text copies of all papers that were potentially relevant for inclusion. Any disagreement was resolved through discussion between the review authors.

Data extraction and management

We had planned to have two authors independently extract appropriate information regarding the characteristics of each included study, using a data abstraction form based on the EPOC Group template. We intended to extract the following data.

  • Study reference: author name, publication year

  • Study design: RCT or cluster-RCT

  • Participants: number of participating nurses, age, level of training and years in practice

  • Setting: country, type of hospital, type of department/speciality

  • Intervention: description of the nursing handover intervention, classified according to whether the intervention targets any or a combination of content, method and location of the handover

  • Control: description of control group used

  • Outcomes: measures used to assess patient outcome, process and efficiency outcomes

  • Results: main results of all outcome(s)

Where needed, we planned to contact study authors (if possible) to obtain missing information.

Assessment of risk of bias in included studies

We had planned that eligible studies would be independently assessed on methodological quality using the Cochrane 'Risk of bias' tool, the EPOC Group criteria for randomised controlled trials and the GRADE approach (EPOC 2009; GRADEpro 2010; Higgins 2011). These checklists assess the validity of study design (method of randomisation; allocation concealment; imbalance of outcome measures at baseline; blinding of participants, personnel and outcome assessors; incomplete outcome data; method of data collection; appropriate statistical methods) and the effect and applicability of the results (magnitude of effect; imprecision; inconsistency; indirectness).

Measures of treatment effect

We planned to report pre- and post-intervention proportions (dichotomous outcomes) and means or medians (continuous outcomes) separately. For dichotomous outcomes, such as AEs, we intended to calculate the risk ratio (RR) and the risk difference (RD) together with their respective 95% confidence intervals (CI). For studies reporting continuous outcomes, such as time, we planned to calculate the mean difference (MD) together with a 95% CI. When necessary we intended to contact the first or corresponding author for clarification or additional information. Had authors not reported or supplied data in sufficient detail after we had contacted them, we would have reported the point estimates with 95% CI or a P value, as stated by the author. We would have annotated this with 'as stated by the author'. Where studies reported more than one measure for each endpoint, we planned to abstract the primary measure (as defined in the methods section by the authors of the study) or the median measure identified.

Unit of analysis issues

Clustered studies, where clusters of individuals are randomised (cluster-RCTs) to intervention groups, but where inference is intended at the level of the individual, need to be analysed appropriately to account for correlation of observations within clusters. Standard statistical methods assume independence of observations, and their use in these types of studies will generally result in artificially small P values and overly narrow 95% CI for the effect estimates (Ukoumunne 1999). We planned to attempt to reanalyse studies with potential unit of analysis errors if information was available about the size/number of clusters and the value of the intra-cluster correlation coefficient (ICC). If a comparison had been reanalysed, we would have quoted the P value and annotated it as 'reanalysed'. If the ICC was not available we intended to attempt to obtain it by contacting trial authors, or by imputing it using external estimates from similar studies (Ukoumunne 1999), or using general recommendations from empirical research (Campbell 2000). If this had not been possible we would have reported the effect estimate and annotated it with the phrase 'unit of analysis error'.

Dealing with missing data

We intended to contact the authors of included studies for missing data and incorporate this information into the analysis. We would have annotated this information as ‘as provided after contact with the author’.

Assessment of heterogeneity

We expected to find both clinical and statistical heterogeneity due to differences in the types of intervention, types of setting, definition of outcome measures and study design. This made it unlikely that statistical pooling would be feasible, but if there appeared to be a body of studies amenable to meta-analysis, then we planned to display the results graphically to assess heterogeneity. We would have considered I² statistic values of 50% or greater as indicative of significant heterogeneity. If this had been the case, we would have refrained from pooling and restricted the analysis to a qualitative overview. If there had been sufficient homogeneity in populations, study design and outcome measures (i.e. where I² < 50%) (Higgins 2003), we would have pooled results.

Assessment of reporting biases

We had planned to construct a funnel plot analysis to assess publication bias if there were 10 or more studies included in an analysis. We would have judged that publication bias existed when we detected asymmetry in the funnel plot. We also intended to use the Egger test to assess funnel plot asymmetry (Egger 1997). A thorough search for unpublished studies through searches of the grey literature and contact with known experts in the field would also have assisted in reducing the risk of publication bias. Finally we would have assessed selective outcome reporting bias by comparing either the study protocol (if available) or the methods section (if a protocol was not available) to the reported results of the study.

Data synthesis

A meta-analysis would have been considered only if we had had two or more studies that were homogeneous regarding population, interventions, comparisons and outcomes. In instances where meta-analysis would not be possible, we planned to report the results as a descriptive narrative only. For studies that were sufficiently clinically and statistically homogenous (I² < 50%), we planned to use a random-effects model. Where possible, we would have included both relative and absolute measures of effect in the meta-analysis. We would have performed data synthesis using Review Manager 5.2 (RevMan 2011). Furthermore we intended to use GRADEprofiler software to assist in the preparation of the ‘Summary of findings’ tables (GRADEpro 2010).

Subgroup analysis and investigation of heterogeneity

Had sufficient data been available, we planned to perform subgroup analyses to compare outcomes for:

  • shift to shift handover on nursing wards providing different levels of care, such as: regular ward-based care, high dependency care and ICU;

  • interdepartmental handover: from one ward to another ward (same level of care), and between departments with different levels of care: for example from ICU to ward, from recovery to ward, from ward to ICU.

Sensitivity analysis

We planned to perform a sensitivity analysis to explore the impact of the following study characteristics: fixed-effect versus random-effects analysis; odds ratios versus risk ratios; and studies with imputed standard deviations versus without imputed standard deviations.

Results

Description of studies

Results of the search

The search identified 2178 citations. Independent examination by the reviewers resulted in retrieval of 28 publications that were potentially eligible for inclusion in the review (Figure 1). After assessment of the full text of these studies, no study was found to meet the inclusion criteria. A description of the retrieved studies and the reasons for their exclusion are presented in the 'Characteristics of excluded studies' section.

Figure 1.

Flow diagram of search

Included studies

No eligible studies were found for inclusion in this review.

Excluded studies

Main reason for exclusion was that the studies did not meet the RCT study design: 18 studies used a simple before-and-after design (Antonoff 2013; Athwal 2009; Baldwin 1994; Benestante 2008; Chung 2011; Craig 2012; Dean 2012a; Evans 2012; Hussain 2011; Joy 2011; Jukkala 2012; Radtke 2013; Raptis 2009; Stahl 2009; Streitenberger 2011; Thomas 2012; Tucker 2009; Wentworth 2012) three studies were opinion papers (Benaglio 2006; Dean 2012b; Ten Cate 2012), two studies used a qualitative design (Adams 2012; Clair 1969), two studies were editorials (Moore 2012; Rabol 2011,) one study was a simulation study (Dowding 2001), one study performed post implementation evaluation only (Alvarado 2006) and one study was a project description (Aellig 2012). In addition four of the studies were not on nursing handover (Aellig 2012; Antonoff 2013; Dean 2012a; Hussain 2011). The detailed description of retrieved studies and reasons for their exclusion are presented in the 'Characteristics of excluded studies' section.

Risk of bias in included studies

No eligible studies were found for inclusion in this review, so we made no assessment of risk of bias.

Allocation

No eligible studies were found for inclusion in this review, so we made no assessment of selection bias.

Blinding

No eligible studies were found for inclusion in this review, so we made no assessment of performance or detection bias.

Incomplete outcome data

No eligible studies were found for inclusion in this review, so we made no assessment of attrition bias.

Selective reporting

No eligible studies were found for inclusion in this review, so we made no assessment of reporting bias.

Other potential sources of bias

No eligible studies were found for inclusion in this review, so we made no assessment of other sources of bias.

Effects of interventions

No eligible studies were found for inclusion in this review, so we cannot report any effects of interventions.

Discussion

We did not find any randomised studies and could not include any studies that fulfilled our methodological criteria for this review. Therefore, we are unable to draw any conclusions about the effectiveness of different nursing handover styles for ensuring continuity of information in hospitalised patients. This is disappointing in view of the important role of the nursing handover in continuity of care and the widespread attention the topic receives in light of patient safety. Within the field of physician handover we identified three publications from two randomised studies comparing usual care to an intervention (Lee 1996; Van Eaton 2005; Van Eaton 2010), which indicates that it is possible to apply this design for evaluation of handover styles. One study used a randomised cross-over design and the other study used randomisation of members to a team. Unfortunately one study was a small study (n = 19) and both studies had a short time frame (three and five months respectively). The outcomes measured were efficiency (workflow and time), continuity of care, safety (adverse events) and self-reported assessment of the new procedure.

Although no reliable evidence exists yet, there are many examples of researchers attempting to evaluate effectiveness of nursing handover styles in order to improve patient safety and quality of care (listed within the Characteristics of excluded studies). Most of these studies (18 out of 28 studies) were limited to simple before-and-after designs of local experiences with quality improvement (QI) initiatives in which the handover practice and how it was performed was described to a varying degree, making reproduction difficult. The handover practice was often evaluated at the level of self-reported satisfaction (six studies on nurse satisfaction and two on patient satisfaction) and not at the level of effectiveness.

The topic of nursing handover has received considerable attention lately, but the studies designed so far are at a high risk of bias, generate only local knowledge or have not been designed to generate effectiveness data (Glasziou 2011; MRC 2000; Ovretveit 2011; Shojania 2004; Shojania 2005). There is an urgent need for high-quality studies to provide hospital management with appropriate evidence to guide decisions about the most effective nursing handover style.

Summary of main results

No eligible studies were found for inclusion in this review.

Overall completeness and applicability of evidence

This review is complete, based on the evidence currently available.

Quality of the evidence

No randomised controlled trials were available for inclusion in this review. The majority of the excluded studies were simple before-and-after evaluations of local experiences with QI initiatives. The major drawback of this design is a high risk of bias, since there is no control available and changes over time in patient populations, or changes in practice, that are unrelated to the QI intervention may produce the desired improvements (Fan 2010).

Potential biases in the review process

The extensive search strategy was carefully designed and adapted to existing terminology by experienced clinical librarians. We searched a large number of databases and relevant websites. Two review authors independently assessed all potentially eligible titles and abstracts against the eligibility criteria to ensure that no important references were missed. Additionally we searched reference lists of systematic reviews that were identified in the search.

Agreements and disagreements with other studies or reviews

During the inclusion process for primary studies on nursing handover we also identified 27 potential systematic reviews on handover (Appendix 7), six of which could be classified as systematic reviews (Arora 2009; Calleja 2011; Foster 2012; Ong 2011; Riesenberg 2010; Staggers 2013), according to the DARE criteria (NIHR 2013). These reviews had wider inclusion criteria than this review regarding methodology, consisting of QI studies using primarily simple before-and-after designs and a wider scope that also included physician or interdisciplinary handover. Searching the references of these reviews revealed no high quality studies we might have missed in our search. Also a recent review by Scott revealed no RCTs, interrupted time series (ITS) or controlled before-and-after studies (CBA) (Scott 2012). All the reviews also concluded that the existing literature on patient handovers does not yet support definitive research conclusions, and all addressed the need for high quality studies.

Authors' conclusions

Implications for practice

We found no eligible studies for inclusion in the review and therefore the review question remains unanswered. As a consequence, uncertainty remains about the most effective nursing handover practice and, as previously noted, one can only rely on insights obtained from systematic reviews of studies with simple before-and-after designs. Breakdowns in communication are one of the main causes of adverse events (AEs) and an accurate handover of clinical information is of great importance to continuity and safety of care. According to current knowledge, the following guiding principles can be applied when redesigning the nursing handover process: face-to-face communication, structured documentation, patient involvement and use of information technology to support the process. When designing and implementing a quality improvement (QI) initiative to improve nursing handover one should consider conducting an evaluation using a robust design, (e.g. an interrupted time series (ITS) or a controlled before-and-after (CBA) study) to strengthen the evidence about this topic.

Implications for research

At present, high quality evidence on the effectiveness nursing handover styles for ensuring continuity of information in hospitalised patients is lacking. Researchers wishing to evaluate the effectiveness of different nursing handover styles in hospitalised patients should use well designed rigorous studies. Experimental methods such as (cluster) randomised controlled trials (RCTs) are recommended because they offer protection from the effects of background variation. However their use in QI research may be beyond the capacity of many clinicians and researchers because of difficulty in blinding and concealment of allocation (Rotter 2010; Shojania 2004; Shojania 2005). Another feasible rigorous study design that can correct for the drawbacks of simple before-and-after designs is an ITS with at least three data points before and three data points after the intervention and at least two intervention sites (EPOC 2009; Grimshaw 2000; Ramsay 2003). This design conveys the extent of background variation and also indicates the extent to which any trend toward improvement may have been present prior to the intervention. When multiple time points before and after an intervention are not feasible, a reasonable alternative to a time-series analysis is a CBA study, in which the same before-and-after measurements occur in one or more hospitals that did not implement the change of interest but are otherwise comparable (EPOC 2009; Grimshaw 2000; Ramsay 2003). Within these designs interventions to improve nursing handovers, such as bedside handover or structured formats for handover can be compared against usual care (i.e. unstructured handover in the office). Also it appears that there is no one single handover format that is applicable everywhere, the context and local situation are important factors to consider when designing a handover process and structure.

Ideally, when evaluating the effectiveness of nursing handover styles objective outcome measures should be used. Nurse-sensitive indicators are being proposed as a means of measuring the impact of nursing care quality on patient outcomes. These include preventable AEs such as medication errors and patient falls, or complications such as pressure ulcers and nosocomial infections, as well as length of hospital stay and patient satisfaction (Burston 2013). Process outcomes that can be used include recall of information, compliance with the plan of care, time and interruptions. Since the incidence of AEs is not high, a sufficient number of participants (for RCT designs) or sufficient time interval (for ITS and CBA designs), or both, should be applied.

Acknowledgements

We thank Mr Arnold Leenders, clinical librarian at the Medical Library of the University of Amsterdam, for developing the search strategy. We thank Michelle Fiander, Information Specialist and Trials Search Co-ordinator for the EPOC group, for supervising and reviewing the search strategy.

Data and analyses

Download statistical data

This review has no analyses.

Appendices

Appendix 1. EPOC Specialised Register

1 All Non-Indexed fields {continuity of care} AND {communicat\*} AND {nurse} OR

2 All Non-Indexed fields {handover} OR{hand\* over} OR {hand\* off} OR {handoff} OR

3 All Non-Indexed fields {bedside report\*} OR {bed side report\*} OR {chang\* of shift} OR {changing shift\*} OR {shift chang\*} OR

4 All Non-Indexed fields {shift report\*} OR {sign out} report\*} OR {sign out system} OR {transfer report} OR {intershift} OR {inter-shift\*} OR

5 All Non-Indexed fields {patient\*} AND {transfer\*} AND {nurse} OR

6 All Non-Indexed fields {patient\* care} AND {communicat\*} OR

7 All Non-Indexed fields {patient|* care} AND {transfer\*} OR

8 All Non-Indexed fields {discharge planning} AND {nurse} OR

9 All Non-Indexed fields {patient discharg\*} AND {nurse} OR

10 Title, primary {patient} AND {transfer} OR

11 All Non-Indexed fields {care transition} OR {transition of care} OR

12 All Non-Indexed fields {interfacility} AND {transfer} OR

13 All Non-Indexed fields {inter-facility} AND {transfer} OR

14 Keywords patient transfer* OR

15 All Non-Indexed fields {care transition} OR {transition\*} OR {transition of care}

Appendix 2. Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) search strategy

#1 (Interfacility or inter-facility or intra-hospital or intrahospital):ti,ab,kw

#2 (interprofessional or inter-professional or interdepartment* or inter-department*):ti,ab,kw

#3 (#1 OR #2)

#4 (patient* near/3 transfer*)

#5 (sign-over* or service change* ):ti,ab,kw

#6 (care near/2 transition*):ti,ab,kw

#7 MeSH descriptor Patient Transfer, this term only

#8 (#4 OR #5 OR #6 OR #7)

#9 (#3 AND #8)

#10 (#3 AND #8)

#1 (interprofessional or inter-professional or interdepartment* or inter-department*):ti,ab,kw

#2 (Interfacility or inter-facility or intra-hospital or intrahospital):ti,ab,kw

#3 (#1 OR #2)

#4 MeSH descriptor Patient Care Planning explode all trees

#5 MeSH descriptor Patient Care Management, this term only

#6 MeSH descriptor Patient-Centered Care, this term only

#7 MeSH descriptor Continuity of Patient Care, this term only

#8 MeSH descriptor Progressive Patient Care, this term only

#9 MeSH descriptor Critical Pathways, this term only

#10 (#4 OR #5 OR #6 OR #7 OR #8 OR #9)

#11 (#10 AND #3)

#1 "change-of-shift" or "bedside report*" or "bed-side report*":ti,ab,kw

#2 (transfer and report*):ti

#3 (#1 OR #2)

#1 "shift report*" or "sign-out report*"

#2 "sign* out*":ti,ab,kw

#3 "hand over*" or "handing over" or handover* or handoff* or "handing off" or "hand off*" or handoff* or "handing off" or "hand off*":ti,ab,kw

#4 (#1 OR #2 OR #3)

Appendix 3. MEDLINE search strategy

1. (hand over? or handing over or handover?).ti,ab.

2. "shift report*".ti,ab.

3. (handoff? or handing off or hand off?).ti.

4. (handoff? or handing off or hand off?).ab.

5. (shift adj3 chang*).ti,ab. and (patient? or care).ti,hw.

6. "sign-out report*".ti,ab.

7. (sign out adj2 (report* or system? or patient?)).ti,ab.

8. (sign out adj2 (report* or system?)).ti,ab.

9. (sign* out adj4 (nurse? or physician? or doctor? or resident? or patient?)).ti,ab.

10. or/1-9

11. (change-of-shift or (bedside report$ or bed-side report$)).ti,ab.

12. transfer report.ti. or (transfer report? adj3 (nurse? or doctor? or physician? or patient?)).ab.

13. ((intershift? or inter-shift? or shift?) adj2 report$).ti,ab.

14. or/11-13

15. Patient transfer/

16. (patient? and (transfer? or transport*)).ti.

17. (patient? adj3 (transfer$ or transport*)).ab.

18. ((interprofessional or inter-professional or interdepartment$ or inter-department$) adj2 transfer$).ti,ab.

19. sign-over?.ti,ab.

20. service change?.ti,ab.

21. (care adj2 transition$).ti,ab.

22. ((Interfacility or inter-facility or intra-hospital or intrahospital) adj3 transfer$).ti,ab.

23. (patient care management/ or exp patient care planning/ or patient-centered care/ or "continuity of patient care"/ or progressive patient care/ or critical pathways/) and ((patient adj2 transfer?) or shift chang$ or shift-to-shift).ti,ab.

24. or/15-23

25. exp Nursing/

26. exp nurses/ or nurse administrators/ or nurse anesthetists/ or nurse clinicians/ or nurse midwives/ or nurse practitioners/ or nurses, male/

27. nursing staff/ or nursing staff, hospital/

28. exp Nursing Care/

29. (patient care/ or exp critical care/ or "episode of care"/ or exp hospitalization/ or exp life support care/ or exp long-term care/ or exp night care/ or palliative care/ or perinatal care/ or exp perioperative care/ or postnatal care/ or prenatal care/ or preoperative care/ or subacute care/ or exp terminal care/) and ((nurse? or nursing).ti. or (or/25-27))

30. (nurse? or nursing).ti,ab,hw.

31. or/25-30

32. 10 and 31

33. 14 and 31

34. 24 and 31

35. intervention?.ti. or (intervention? adj6 (clinician? or collaborat$ or community or complex or design$ or doctor? or educational or family doctor? or family physician? or family practitioner? or financial or GP or general practice? or hospital? or impact? or improv$ or individuali?e? or individuali?ing or interdisciplin$ or multicomponent or multi-component or multidisciplin$ or multi-disciplin$ or multifacet$ or multi-facet$ or multimodal$ or multi-modal$ or personali?e? or personali?ing or pharmacies or pharmacist? or pharmacy or physician? or practitioner? or prescrib$ or prescription? or primary care or professional$ or provider? or regulatory or regulatory or tailor$ or target$ or team$ or usual care)).ab.

36. (collaborativ$ or collaboration? or tailored or personali?ed).ti,ab.

37. (exp hospitals/ or exp Hospitalization/ or exp Patients/ or exp Nurses/ or exp Nursing/) and (study.ti. or evaluation studies as topic/)

38. demonstration project?.ti,ab.

39. (pre-post or "pre test$" or pretest$ or posttest$ or "post test$" or (pre adj5 post)).ti,ab.

40. (pre-workshop or post-workshop or (before adj3 workshop) or (after adj3 workshop)).ti,ab.

41. trial.ti. or ((study adj3 aim?) or "our study").ab.

42. (before adj10 (after or during)).ti,ab.

43. ("quasi-experiment$" or quasiexperiment$ or "quasi random$" or quasirandom$ or "quasi control$" or quasicontrol$ or ((quasi$ or experimental) adj3 (method$ or study or trial or design$))).ti,ab,hw.

44. ("time series" adj2 interrupt$).ti,ab,hw.

45. (time points adj3 (over or multiple or three or four or five or six or seven or eight or nine or ten or eleven or twelve or month$ or hour? or day? or "more than")).ab.

46. pilot.ti.

47. Pilot projects/

48. (clinical trial or multicenter study).pt.

49. (multicentre or multicenter or multi-centre or multi-center).ti.

50. random$.ti,ab. or controlled.ti.

51. (control adj3 (area or cohort? or compar? or condition or group? or intervention? or participant? or study)).ab. not (controlled clinical trial or randomized controlled trial).pt.

52. "comment on".cm. or systematic review.ti. or literature review.ti. or editorial.pt. or letter.pt. or meta-analysis.pt. or news.pt. or review.pt.

53. exp animals/ not humans.sh.

54. (or/35-51) not (or/52-53)

55. (randomized controlled trial or controlled clinical trial).pt. or randomi?ed.ab. or clinical trials as topic.sh. or randomly.ab. or trial.ti.

56. exp animals/ not humans/

57. (rat or rats or mice or mouse or horse or equine or cow or bovine or pig or porcin*).ti,hw.

58. comment on.cm. or systematic review.ti. or literature review.ti. or editorial.pt. or meta-analysis.pt. or news.pt. or review.pt.

59. 55 not (or/56-58)

60. 54 not 59

61. 32 and 60 [epoc hand-over]

62. 33 and 60 [epoc shift]

63. 34 and 60 [epoc transfer]

64. 32 and 59 [rct hand-over]

65. 33 and 59 [rct shift]

66. 34 and 59 [rct transfer]

67. (handover? or "hand over?" or hand* over?).ti,ab. and (nurse or nurses or nursing).ti,hw.

68. ((nurse or nursing or nurses) adj3 (handover? or "hand over?" or hand* over?)).ti,ab.

69. ((patient? or inpatient? or outpatient?) adj3 (handover? or "hand over?" or hand* over?)).ti,ab.

70. or/67-69 [handover-ruim]

Appendix 4. EMBASE search strategy

1. (hand over? or handing over or handover?).ti,ab.

2. "shift report*".ti,ab.

3. (handoff? or handing off or hand off?).ti.

4. (handoff? or handing off or hand off?).ab.

5. (shift adj3 chang*).ti,ab. and (patient? or care).ti,hw.

6. "sign-out report*".ti,ab.

7. (sign out adj2 (report* or system? or patient?)).ti,ab.

8. (sign out adj2 (report* or system?)).ti,ab.

9. (sign* out adj4 (nurse? or physician? or doctor? or resident? or patient?)).ti,ab.

10. or/1-9

11. (change-of-shift or (bedside report$ or bed-side report$)).ti,ab.

12. transfer report.ti. or (transfer report? adj3 (nurse? or doctor? or physician? or patient?)).ab.

13. ((intershift? or inter-shift? or shift?) adj2 report$).ti,ab.

14. or/11-13

15. Patient transfer/

16. (patient? and (transfer? or transport*)).ti.

17. (patient? adj3 (transfer$ or transport*)).ab.

18. ((interprofessional or inter-professional or interdepartment$ or inter-department$) adj2 transfer$).ti,ab.

19. sign-over?.ti,ab.

20. service change?.ti,ab.

21. (care adj2 transition$).ti,ab.

22. ((Interfacility or inter-facility or intra-hospital or intrahospital) adj3 transfer$).ti,ab.

23. (patient care management/ or exp patient care planning/ or patient-centered care/ or "continuity of patient care"/ or progressive patient care/ or critical pathways/) and ((patient adj2 transfer?) or shift chang$ or shift-to-shift).ti,ab.

24. or/15-23

25. exp Nursing/

26. exp nurses/ or nurse administrators/ or nurse anesthetists/ or nurse clinicians/ or nurse midwives/ or nurse practitioners/ or nurses, male/

27. nursing staff/ or nursing staff, hospital/

28. exp Nursing Care/

29. (patient care/ or exp critical care/ or "episode of care"/ or exp hospitalization/ or exp life support care/ or exp long-term care/ or exp night care/ or palliative care/ or perinatal care/ or exp perioperative care/ or postnatal care/ or prenatal care/ or preoperative care/ or subacute care/ or exp terminal care/) and ((nurse? or nursing).ti. or (or/25-27))

30. (nurse? or nursing).ti,ab,hw.

31. or/25-30

32. 10 and 31

33. 14 and 31

34. 24 and 31

35. intervention?.ti. or (intervention? adj6 (clinician? or collaborat$ or community or complex or design$ or doctor? or educational or family doctor? or family physician? or family practitioner? or financial or GP or general practice? or hospital? or impact? or improv$ or individuali?e? or individuali?ing or interdisciplin$ or multicomponent or multi-component or multidisciplin$ or multi-disciplin$ or multifacet$ or multi-facet$ or multimodal$ or multi-modal$ or personali?e? or personali?ing or pharmacies or pharmacist? or pharmacy or physician? or practitioner? or prescrib$ or prescription? or primary care or professional$ or provider? or regulatory or regulatory or tailor$ or target$ or team$ or usual care)).ab.

36. (collaborativ$ or collaboration? or tailored or personali?ed).ti,ab.

37. (exp hospitals/ or exp Hospitalization/ or exp Patients/ or exp Nurses/ or exp Nursing/) and (study.ti. or evaluation studies as topic/)

38. demonstration project?.ti,ab.

39. (pre-post or "pre test$" or pretest$ or posttest$ or "post test$" or (pre adj5 post)).ti,ab.

40. (pre-workshop or post-workshop or (before adj3 workshop) or (after adj3 workshop)).ti,ab.

41. trial.ti. or ((study adj3 aim?) or "our study").ab.

42. (before adj10 (after or during)).ti,ab.

43. *experimental design/ or *pilot study/ or quasi experimental study/

44. ("quasi-experiment$" or quasiexperiment$ or "quasi random$" or quasirandom$ or "quasi control$" or quasicontrol$ or ((quasi$ or experimental) adj3 (method$ or study or trial or design$))).ti,ab.

45. ("time series" adj2 interrupt$).ti,ab.

46. (time points adj3 (over or multiple or three or four or five or six or seven or eight or nine or ten or eleven or twelve or month$ or hour? or day? or "more than")).ab.

47. pilot.ti.

48. (multicentre or multicenter or multi-centre or multi-center).ti.

49. random$.ti,ab. or controlled.ti.

50. "comment on".cm. or systematic review.ti. or literature review.ti. or editorial.pt. or letter.pt. or meta-analysis.pt. or news.pt. or review.pt.

51. (animal/ or animal.hw.) not ((animal/ or animal?.kw,hw.) and (human/ or human?.hw,kw.))

52. (or/35-49) not (or/50-51)

53. randomized controlled trials/ or controlled clinical trials/ or randomi?ed.ab. or clinical trials as topic.sh. or randomly.ab. or trial.ti.

54. exp animals/ not humans/

55. (rat or rats or mice or mouse or horse or equine or cow or bovine or pig or porcin*).ti,hw.

56. (comment on or systematic review or literature review).ti. or editorial.pt. or meta-analysis/ or news.ti. or review.pt.

57. 53 not (or/54-56)

58. 52 not 57

59. 32 and 58 [epoc handover]

60. 33 and 58 [epoc shift]

61. 34 and 58 [epoc transfer]

62. 32 and 57 [rct handover]

63. 33 and 57 [rct shift]

64. 34 and 57 [rct transfer]

65. (handover? or "hand over?" or hand* over?).ti,ab. and (nurse or nurses or nursing).ti,hw.

66. ((nurse or nursing or nurses) adj3 (handover? or "hand over?" or hand* over?)).ti,ab.

67. ((patient? or inpatient? or outpatient?) adj3 (handover? or "hand over?" or hand* over?)).ti,ab.

68. or/65-67 [handover ruim]

Appendix 5. CINAHL search strategy

S84 s33 and s41 and s81

S83 s18 and s81

S82 s11 and s81

S81 s66 not s77

S80 S33 and S41 and S77

S79 S18 and S77

S78 S11 and S77

S77 S71 or S72 or S73 or S74 or S75 or S76

S76 (MM "Clinical Trials+")

S75 TI ( “control* N1 clinical” or “control* N1 group*” or “control* N1 trial*” or “control* N1 study” or “control* N1 studies” or “control* N1 design*” or “control* N1 method*” ) or AB ( “control* N1 clinical” or “control* N1 group*” or “control* N1 trial*” or “control* N1 study” or “control* N1 studies” or “control* N1 design*” or “control* N1 method*” )

S74 TI controlled or AB controlled

S73 TI random* or AB random*

S72 TI ( “clinical study” or “clinical studies” ) or AB ( “clinical study” or “clinical studies” )

S71 TI ( (multicent* n2 design*) or (multicent* n2 study) or (multicent* n2 studies) or (multicent* n2 trial*) ) or AB ( (multicent* n2 design*) or (multicent* n2 study) or (multicent* n2 studies) or (multicent* n2 trial*) )

S70 S33 and S41 and S66

S69 S18 and S66

S68 S11 and S66

S67 (S42 or S43 or S44 or S45 or S46 or S47 or S48 or S49 or S50 or S51 or S52 or S53 or

S54 or S55 or S56 or S57 or S58 or S59 or S60 or S61 or S62 or S63 or S64 or S65 ) and (S11 and S66)

S66 S42 or S43 or S44 or S45 or S46 or S47 or S48 or S49 or S50 or S51 or S52 or S53 or

S54 or S55 or S56 or S57 or S58 or S59 or S60 or S61 or S62 or S63 or S64 or S65

S65 TI ( (time points n3 over) or (time points n3 multiple) or (time points n3 three) or (time points n3 four) or (time points n3 five) or (time points n3 six) or (time points n3 seven) or (time points n3 eight) or (time points n3 nine) or (time points n3 ten) or (time points n3 eleven) or (time points n3 twelve) or (time points n3 month*) or (time points n3 hour*) or (time points n3 day*) or (time points n3 "more than") ) or AB ( (time points n3 over) or (time points n3 multiple) or (time points n3 three) or (time points n3 four) or (time points n3 five) or (time points n3 six) or (time points n3 seven) or (time points n3 eight) or (time points n3 nine) or (time points n3 ten) or (time points n3 eleven) or (time points n3 twelve) or (time points n3 month*) or (time points n3 hour*) or (time points n3 day*) or (time points n3 "more than") )

S64 TI ( (control w3 area) or (control w3 cohort*) or (control w3 compar*) or (control w3 condition) or (control w3 group*) or (control w3 intervention*) or (control w3 participant*) or (control w3 study) ) or AB ( (control w3 area) or (control w3 cohort*) or (control w3 compar*) or (control w3 condition) or (control w3 group*) or (control w3 intervention*) or (control w3 participant*) or (control w3 study) )

S63 TI ( multicentre or multicenter or multi-centre or multi-center ) or AB random*

S62 TI random* OR controlled

S61 TI ( trial or (study n3 aim) or "our study" ) or AB ( (study n3 aim) or "our study" )

S60 TI ( pre-workshop or preworkshop or post-workshop or postworkshop or (before n3 workshop) or (after n3 workshop) ) or AB ( pre-workshop or preworkshop or post-workshop or postworkshop or (before n3 workshop) or (after n3 workshop) )

S59 TI ( demonstration project OR demonstration projects OR preimplement* or pre-implement* or post-implement* or postimplement* ) or AB ( demonstration project OR demonstration projects OR preimplement* or pre-implement* or post-implement* or postimplement* )

S58 TX (intervention n6 clinician*) or (intervention n6 community) or (intervention n6 complex) or (intervention n6 design*) or (intervention n6 doctor*) or (intervention n6 educational) or (intervention n6 family doctor*) or (intervention n6 family physician*) or (intervention n6 family practitioner*) or (intervention n6 financial) or (intervention n6 GP) or (intervention n6 general practice*) Or (intervention n6 hospital*) or (intervention n6 impact*) Or (intervention n6 improv*) or (intervention n6 individualize*) Or (intervention n6 individualise*) or (intervention n6 individualizing) or (intervention n6 individualising) or (intervention n6 interdisciplin*) or (intervention n6 multicomponent) or (intervention n6 multi-component) or (intervention n6 multidisciplin*) or (intervention n6 multi-disciplin*) or (intervention n6 multifacet*) or (intervention n6 multi-facet*) or (intervention n6 multimodal*) or (intervention n6 multi-modal*) or (intervention n6 personalize*) or(intervention n6 personalise*) or (intervention n6 personalizing) or (intervention n6 personalising) or (intervention n6 pharmaci*) or (intervention n6 pharmacist*) or (intervention n6 pharmacy) or (intervention n6 physician*) or (intervention n6 practitioner*) Or (intervention n6 prescrib*) or (intervention n6 prescription*) or (intervention n6 primary care) or (intervention n6 professional*) or (intervention* n6 provider*) or (intervention* n6 regulatory) or (intervention n6 regulatory) or (intervention n6 tailor*) or (intervention n6 target*) or (intervention n6 team*) or (intervention n6 usual care)

S57 TI ( collaborativ* or collaboration* or tailored or personalised or personalized ) or AB ( collaborativ* or collaboration* or tailored or personalised or personalized )

S56 TI pilot

S55 (MH "Pilot Studies")

S54 AB "before-and-after"

S53 AB time series

S52 TI time series

S51 AB ( before* n10 during or before n10 after ) or AU ( before* n10 during or before n10 after )

S50 TI ( (time point*) or (period* n4 interrupted) or (period* n4 multiple) or (period* n4 time) or (period* n4 various) or (period* n4 varying) or (period* n4 week*) or (period* n4 month*) or (period* n4 year*) ) or AB ( (time point*) or (period* n4 interrupted) or (period* n4 multiple) or (period* n4 time) or (period* n4 various) or (period* n4 varying) or (period* n4 week*) or (period* n4 month*) or (period* n4 year*) )

S49 TI ( ( quasi-experiment* or quasiexperiment* or quasi-random* or quasirandom* or quasi control* or quasicontrol* or quasi* W3 method* or quasi* W3 study or quasi* W3 studies or quasi* W3 trial or quasi* W3 design* or experimental W3 method* or experimental W3 study or experimental W3 studies or experimental W3 trial or experimental W3 design* ) ) or AB ( ( quasi-experiment* or quasiexperiment* or quasi-random* or quasirandom* or quasi control* or quasicontrol* or quasi* W3 method* or quasi* W3 study or quasi* W3 studies or quasi* W3 trial or quasi* W3 design* or experimental W3 method* or experimental W3 study or experimental W3 studies or experimental W3 trial or experimental W3 design* )

S48 TI pre w7 post or AB pre w7 post

S47 MH "Multiple Time Series" or MH "Time Series"

S46 TI ( (comparative N2 study) or (comparative N2 studies) or evaluation study or evaluation studies ) or AB ( (comparative N2 study) or (comparative N2 studies) or evaluation study or evaluation studies )

S45 MH Experimental Studies or Community Trials or Community Trials or Pretest-Posttest Design + or Quasi-Experimental Studies + Pilot Studies or Policy Studies + Multicenter Studies

S44 TI ( pre-test* or pretest* or posttest* or post-test* ) or AB ( pre-test* or pretest* or posttest* or "post test* ) OR TI ( preimplement*" or pre-implement* ) or AB ( pre-implement* or preimplement* )

S43 TI ( intervention* or multiintervention* or multi-intervention* or postintervention* or post-intervention* or preintervention* or pre-intervention* ) or AB ( intervention* or multiintervention* or multi-intervention* or postintervention* or post-intervention* or preintervention* or pre-intervention* )

S42 (MH "Quasi-Experimental Studies")

S41 S34 or S35 or S36 or S37 or S38 or S39 or S40

S40 AB interprofessional or inter-professional or interdepartment* or inter-department*

S39 TI interprofessional or inter-professional or interdepartment* or inter-department*

S38 AB Interfacility or inter-facility or intra-hospital or intrahospital

S37 TI Interfacility or inter-facility or intra-hospital or intrahospital

S36 TX patient unit*

S35 (MH "Interprofessional Relations+")

S34 (MH "Transfer, Intrahospital")

S33 S19 or S20 or S21 or S22 or S23 or S24 or S25 or S26 or S27 or S32

S32 S28 and S31

S31 S29 or S30

S30 AB patient N2 transfer* or shift chang* or shift-to-shift

S29 TI patient N2 transfer* or shift chang* or shift-to-shift

S28 (MH "Patient Care Plans+") OR (MH "Patient Centered Care") OR (MH "Continuity of Patient Care+") OR (MH "Progressive Patient Care") OR (MH "Critical Path")

S27 AB care N2 transition*

S26 TI care N2 transition*

S25 AB "service change"

S24 TI "service change"

S23 AB sign over

S22 TI sign over

S21 AB patient N3 transfer* or patient N3 transport*

S20 TI patient and transfer?

S19 (MH "Discharge Planning+")

S18 S12 or S13 or S14 or S15 or S16 or S17

S17 TI intershift? N3 report* or inter-shift? N3 report* or shift* N3 report*

S16 AB intershift? N3 report* or inter-shift? N3 report* or shift* N3 report*

S15 AB transfer N3 report*

S14 TI transfer N3 report*

S13 TI change-of-shift or "bedside report*" or "bed-side report*"

S12 AB change-of-shift or "bedside report*" or "bed-side report*"

S11 S1 or S2 or S3 or S4 or S5 or S6 or S7 or S8 or S9 or S10

S10 AB hand over? or handing over or handover?

S9 TI hand over? or handing over or handover?

S8 AB "shift report*" or "sign-out report*"

S7 AB (shift N3 chang*) and (patient? or care)

S6 AB sign out

S5 TI sign out

S4 TI (shift N3 chang*) and (patient? or care)

S3 TI "shift report*" or "sign-out report*"

S2 AB handoff? or handing off or hand off?

S1 TI handoff? or handing off or hand off?

Appendix 6. ISI Web of Knowledge search strategy

1 Topic=(handover*) AND Topic=(patient or patients or nurse or nurses or hospital* or healthcare or "health care") NOT Title=("Nursing Home*")

2 (TI=handover* AND (TI=patient* or TI=hospital* or TI=nurse or TI=nurses or TI=healthcare or TI=care)) NOT ti="nursing home*" Databases=SCI-EXPANDED, SSCI, A&HCI, CPCI-S, CPCI-SSH Timespan=All Years Lemmatization=On

3 ((TI=HANDOFF* OR ts=HANDOFF*) and (ti=NURSE OR TI=NURSES OR TI=HOSPITAL* OR TI=CARE OR TI=PATIENT* OR TI=INPATIENT* OR TS=NURSE OR TS=NURSES OR TS=HOSPITAL* OR TS=CARE OR TS=PATIENT* OR TS=INPATIENT)) NOT (TI=NURSING HOME* OR TS=NURSING HOME*)

Databases=SCI-EXPANDED, SSCI, A&HCI, CPCI-S, CPCI-SSH Timespan=All Years Lemmatization=On

Appendix 7. Systematic reviews for which the authors searched the reference lists

  Authors Title
1Arora VM, Manjarrez E, Dressler DD, Basaviah P, Halasyamani L, Kripalani SHospitalist handoffs: a systematic review and task force recommendations. Journal of Hospital Medicine 2009;4(7):433-40
2Benson E, Rippin-Sisler C, Jabusch K, Keast SImproving nursing shift-to-shift report. Journal of Nursing Care Quality 2007;22(1):80-4
3Calleja P, Aitken LM, Cooke MLInformation transfer for multi-trauma patients on discharge from the emergency department: mixed-method narrative review. Journal of Advanced Nursing 2011;67(1):4-18
4Cohen MD, Hilligoss PBThe published literature on handoffs in hospitals: deficiencies identified in an extensive review. Quality & Safety in Health Care 2010;19(6):493-7
5Collins SA, Stein DM, Vawdrey DK, Stetson PD, Bakken SContent overlap in nurse and physician handoff artifacts and the potential role of electronic health records: a systematic review. Journal of Biomedical Informatics 2011;44(4):704-12
6Foster S, Manser TThe effects of patient handoff characteristics on subsequent care: a systematic review and areas for future research. Academic Medicine 2012;87(8):1105-24
7Fraser LE, O'Brien K, Tobar I, Waller DMPatient care plans for intershift report. Journal of Pediatric Nursing 1991;6(5):310-6
8Gordon M, Findley REducational interventions to improve handover in health care: a systematic review. Medical Education 2011;45(11):1081-9
9Hoban VHow to ... handle a handover. Nursing Times 2003;99(9):54-5
10Kalkman CHandover in the perioperative care process. Current Opinion in Anesthesiology 2010;23(6):749-53
11Manser T, Foster SEffective handover communication: an overview of research and improvement efforts. Best Practice & Research Clinical Anaesthesiology 2011;25(2):181-91
12Matic J, Davidson, PM, Salamonson YReview: bringing patient safety to the forefront through structured computerisation during clinical handover. Journal of Clinical Nursing 2011;20(1-2):184-9
13McKenna LG.Improving the nursing handover report. Professional Nurse 1997;12(9):637-9
14Messam K, Pettifer AUnderstanding best practice within nurse intershift handover: what suits palliative care? International Journal of Palliative Nursing 2009;15(4):190-6
15Miller CEnsuring continuing care: styles and efficiency of the handover process. The Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing 1998;16(1):23-7
16Ong MS, Coiera EA systematic review of failures in handoff communication during intrahospital transfers. Joint Commission Journal on Quality & Patient Safety 2011;37(6):274-84
17Patterson ES, Wears, RLPatient handoffs: standardized and reliable measurement tools remain elusive. Joint Commission Journal on Quality & Patient Safety 2010;36(2):52-61
18Priest CS, Holmberg SKA new model for the mental health nursing change of shift report. Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services 2000;38(8):36-43
19Raduma-Tomas MA, Flin R, Yule S, Williams D.Doctors' handovers in hospitals: a literature review. BMJ Quality & Safety 2011;20(2):128-33
20Riesenberg LA, Leitzsch J, Cunningham JMNursing handoffs: a systematic review of the literature: surprisingly little is known about what constitutes best practice. The American Journal of Nursing 2010;110(4):24-36
21Scott P, Ross P, Prytherch DEvidence-based inpatient handovers: a literature review and research agenda. Clinical Governance: An International Journal 2012;17(1):14-27
22Siemsen IM, Michaelsen L, Nielsen J, Ostergaard D, Andersen HB[Patient handover involves numerous safety risks]. [Review] [Danish]. Ugeskr Laeger 2011;173(20):1412-6
23Staggers NAn integrative review of research on nursing handoffs in acute care settings... Transitions: Unifying Practice, Education, and Research to Improve Health: Communicating Nursing Research 2011;44:27-42
24Strople B, Ottani PCan technology improve intershift report? What the research reveals. Journal of Professional Nursing 2006;22:197-204
25Watkins SIntroducing bedside handover reports. Professional Nurse 1997;12(4):270-3
26Woodward HI, Mytton OT, Lemer C, Yardley IC, Ellis BM, Rutter PD, et alWhat have we learned about interventions to reduce medical errors? Annual Review of Public Health 2010;31:479-97
27Wong MC, Yee KC, Turner PClinical Handover Literature Review, eHealth Services Research Group, University of Tasmania, Australia, 2008

History

Protocol first published: Issue 7, 2012
Review first published: Issue 6, 2014

DateEventDescription
7 May 2014Amendedcopy editing suggestions processed
18 July 2013Amended

Revised search methods per template provided by EPOC TSC. Added an appendix listing the systematic reviews we scanned for related studies.

Adapted the paragraph implications for future research according to epicot.

Contributions of authors

HV was responsible for the study conception and design. MS was responsible for the first and subsequent drafts of the review. All authors contributed to conceptualising and designing the review and provided comments on drafts of the review.

Declarations of interest

Marian Smeulers: nothing to declare
Cees Lucas: nothing to declare
Hester Vermeulen: nothing to declare

Sources of support

Internal sources

  • Academic Medical Center at the University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

  • Amsterdam School of Health Professions, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

External sources

  • No sources of support supplied

Differences between protocol and review

The original MEDLINE search was expanded to include as many results as possible.

Characteristics of studies

Characteristics of excluded studies [ordered by study ID]

StudyReason for exclusion
  1. a

    Abbreviations

    ED = emergency department
    ICU = intensive care unit
    RCT = randomised controlled trial

Adams 2012Qualitative interview study with 20 nurses to develop a model structure for a standardised nursing handover. Did not meet RCT study design criteria
Aellig 2012A quality improvement project on handover between institutions. Did not meet RCT study design criteria and in-hospital nursing handover criteria
Alvarado 2006Development, implementation and evaluation of a combination of written and verbal nursing shift handover with a safety check at the bedside. Did not meet RCT study design criteria as performed only a post-implementation evaluation (of nurses' experiences)
Antonoff 2013Development, implementation and evaluation of a combination of written and verbal shift handover for residents. Did not meet RCT study design criteria as only simple before-and-after comparison was performed (on satisfaction with sign-outs, perceptions of patient safety, adequacy of information provided in sign-out, and patient knowledge by on-call residents) and not on nursing handover
Athwal 2009Development, implementation and evaluation of a combination of written and verbal nursing shift handover at the bedside. Did not meet RCT study design criteria as performed only simple before-and-after comparison (on the amount of time spent for shift report, overtime expenses related to shift report, call lights, staff satisfaction, and patient falls).
Baldwin 1994Development, implementation and evaluation of a computer-generated written nursing shift handover. Did not meet RCT study design criteria as performed only simple before-and-after comparison (on overtime and staff satisfaction)
Benaglio 2006Opinion paper on nursing shift handover; did not meet RCT study design criteria
Benestante 2008Implementation and evaluation of bedside nursing shift handover. Did not meet RCT study design criteria as performed only simple before-and-after comparison (on nurses belief that bedside reporting improves patient safety).
Chung 2011Development, implementation and evaluation of a standardised nursing shift report. Did not meet RCT study design criteria as performed only simple before-and-after comparison (on staff opinions and overtime)
Clair 1969Qualitative study to find out what should be included in a nursing shift handover report and to determine the extent to which nurses acted upon their beliefs. Did not meet RCT study design criteria
Craig 2012Development, implementation and evaluation of multidisciplinary structured verbal, written bedside handover from cardiac operating room to paediatric intensive care. Did not meet RCT study design criteria as performed only simple before-and-after comparison (on handover score, staff perception, duration and number of interruptions).
Dean 2012aDevelopment, implementation and evaluation of a standardised handover from ambulance to ED. Did not meet RCT study design criteria as performed only simple before-and-after comparison and did not meet in-hospital nursing handover criteria
Dean 2012bOpinion paper on nursing handover; did not meet RCT study design criteria.
Dowding 2001Simulation of the effect that manipulating the style and content of the nurse shift handover had on an individual's ability to plan patient care, not in a clinical setting.
Evans 2012Development, implementation and evaluation of bedside nursing shift handover. Did not meet RCT study design criteria as performed only simple before-and-after comparison (on nurses' job satisfaction and time spent delivering report)
Hussain 2011Development, implementation and evaluation of a weekend handover for residents. Did not meet RCT study design criteria as performed only simple before-and-after comparison and not on nursing handover.
Joy 2011Development, implementation and evaluation of a structured handover from cardiac operation room to ICU. Did not meet RCT study design criteria as performed only simple before-and-after comparison (on technical errors, information omissions and realised errors)
Jukkala 2012Development, implementation and evaluation of a structured written and verbal nursing shift report in a medical ICU. Did not meet RCT study design criteria as performed only simple before-and-after comparison (on nurse’s perception of handoff communication during shift report)
Moore 2012Editorial; did not meet RCT study design criteria.
Rabol 2011Editorial; did not meet RCT study design criteria
Radtke 2013Development, implementation and evaluation of a bedside nursing shift report on a medical/surgical intermediate care unit. Did not meet RCT study design criteria as performed only simple before-and-after comparison (on patient satisfaction)
Raptis 2009Comparison of a paper-based and electronic-based medical handover from day team to out-of-hours team consisting of specialist nurses, medical staff and surgical staff. Did not meet RCT study design criteria as performed only simple before-and-after comparison (on patient details and patient location, primary diagnosis and current problem, plan of action and day team details)
Stahl 2009Prospective cohort study of trauma and surgical ICU teams (interns, residents, and fellows) to determine whether a structured checklist for ICU handovers prevents information loss. Did not meet RCT study design criteria as performed only simple before-and-after comparison (on data lost)
Streitenberger 2011Proceedings abstract on development, implementation and evaluation of a standardised nursing shift handover in 3 paediatric ICUs. Did not meet RCT study design criteria
Ten Cate 2012Opinion paper;did not meet RCT study design criteria
Thomas 2012Development, implementation and evaluation of a standardised bedside nursing shift handover on medical surgical units. Did not meet RCT study design criteria as performed only simple before-and-after comparison (on nurse and patient satisfaction)
Tucker 2009Development, implementation and evaluation of a bedside 'reading' nursing shift handover. Did not meet RCT study design criteria as performed only simple before-and-after comparison (the standard of record keeping)
Wentworth 2012Development, implementation and evaluation of an electronic handover communication tool for transferring uncomplicated routine patients to and from a progressive care unit and cardiac laboratories. Did not meet RCT study design criteria as performed only simple before-and-after comparison (on implementation evaluation)

Ancillary