Street M, Eustace P, Livingston PM, Craike MJ, Kent B, Patterson D. International Journal of Nursing Practice 2011; 17: 133–140
Communication at the bedside to enhance patient care: A survey of nurses' experience and perspective of handover
Strategies to support continuity of care and improve patient safety during clinical handover have been developed. The aims of this study were to identify the strengths and limitations in current practice of nursing clinical handover and implement a new bedside handover process. A total of 259 nurses completed a cross-sectional survey at change of shift on 1 day, which was followed by an audit of the pilot implementation of bedside handover. The survey results showed great variation in the duration, location and method of handover with significant differences in the experience of nurses employed part-time compared with full-time. Following implementation of standardized bedside handover on two wards, the audit revealed significant improvement in the involvement of patients, use of Situation-Background-Assessment-Recommendation, active patient checks and checking of documentation. These findings suggest the use of standardized protocols and communication tools for bedside handover improve continuity of patient care.