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Understanding current intensive care unit nursing handover practices

Authors

  • Amy J Spooner RN BN GradDip Intensive Care Nursing,

    Clinical Research Nurse, Corresponding author
    • Critical Care Research Group, Adult Intensive Care Services, The Prince Charles Hospital and University of Queensland, Chermside, Queensland, Australia
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  • Wendy Chaboyer RN BSc(Nu) Honours MN PhD,

    Director
    1. NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Nursing Interventions for Hospitalised Patients (NCREN), Centre for Health Practice Innovation (HPI), Griffith Health Institute, Griffith University, Southport, Queensland, Australia
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  • Amanda Corley RN BN Grad Cert Health Sciences,

    Nurse Researcher
    1. Critical Care Research Group, Adult Intensive Care Services, The Prince Charles Hospital and University of Queensland, Chermside, Queensland, Australia
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  • Naomi Hammond RN BN MN (crit care) MPH,

    Clinical Research Nurse
    1. Critical Care Research Group, Adult Intensive Care Services, The Prince Charles Hospital and University of Queensland, Chermside, Queensland, Australia
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  • John F Fraser MBChB PhD MRCP (UK) FFARCSI FRCA FJFICM

    Director
    1. Critical Care Research Group, Adult Intensive Care Services, The Prince Charles Hospital and University of Queensland, Chermside, Queensland, Australia
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Correspondence: Amy J. Spooner, Critical Care Research Group, The Prince Charles Hospital, Level 5 Clinical Sciences Building, Rode Rd, Chermside, Brisbane, Qld. 4032, Australia. Email: amy_spooner@health.qld.gov.au

Abstract

Clinical handover is critical to clinical decision-making and the provision of safe, high quality, continuing care. Incomplete and inaccurate transfer of information can result in poor outcomes. To assess the content and completeness of the intensive care unit nursing shift-to-shift handover, a prospective, observational study design was used. A semistructured observation sheet based on 10 key principles for handover was used to overtly observe 20 bedside nursing handovers. Descriptive statistics were used to analyse the data. Overall, the content handed over was consistent with the key principles of clinical handover. However, there were some key principles that were minimally addressed or absent from clinical handovers. Development and implementation of a handover tool specific to intensive care will assist in ensuring that all key principles are adhered to so that adverse events associated with miscommunication during clinical handover are reduced and a high standard of care is maintained.

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