Features  |   March 2013
Best Practices for Handover Communication
Author Affiliations
  • Nina Singh-Radcliff, M.D.
    Committee on Communications
Article Information
Quality Improvement / Features
Features   |   March 2013
Best Practices for Handover Communication
ASA Monitor 03 2013, Vol.77, 20-21.
ASA Monitor 03 2013, Vol.77, 20-21.
In the perioperative setting, patient handover occurs when care is transferred by the anesthesia care team (delivery team) to a receiving team in the recovery room or intensive care unit. A tremendous amount of pertinent information needs to be communicated within a short period of time, including medical history, surgical procedure, intraoperative course and the need for continued care plans.
To complicate matters, the patient is also recovering from acute derangements that result from surgical insult and the effects of anesthetic medication that can often necessitate multi-tasking (e.g., treatment of airway obstruction, pain, delirium, hypotension, etc). Furthermore, the receiving team is often unfamiliar with the patient, has a different skill set and training, is taking care of more than one patient, and is performing patient assessment and carrying out surgical and anesthesia care plans. Both the delivery and the receiving teams face production pressures and often multi-task. Disorganized, incomplete or unnecessary information during the handover report can further exacerbate a situation that already poses a number of barriers to effective communication.
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