Title

Implementing a Standardized Handoff tool for Perioperative Care Providers

Presenter Information

Aaron ThomasFollow

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

Major

Nursing, Expected

Presentation Format

Poster Presentation

Abstract/Description

“Patient safety and continuity of quality care are dependent on effective communication.” (Welsh, Flanagan, & Ebright, 2010). This is the basis of my Evidence Based Project, ensuring adequate and sufficient handoff between health care team members to deliver the best patient care possible. Handoff or handover can best be described as one health care team member transferring their care, knowledge, and information of a patient to another health care team member. This can be done from preoperative nurses to the operating room nurses, and from the operating room nurses to the post anesthesia care nurses. During handoff there is an “opportunity for error” if any pertinent patient information is missing from the communication process. The lack of information can “result in delays in treatment or diagnosis for the patient, inappropriate treatment, or failure to provide appropriate care.” (Welsh, Flanagan, & Ebright, 2010). While participating in clinical, speaking with other nurses, and in my own work experience I recognized that there was a lapse in communication of pertinent information amongst perioperative providers. Often PACU nurses receive patients and are not given an adequate amount of information on the client. Additionally, when handoff is done between providers, it is mostly verbal, which requires the person receiving the handoff either to write down what they can as quick as possible or attempt to commit it to memory without any form of written documentation. This causes potential for lapses in pertinent patient information between providers, thus effecting efficiency of patient care as well as time being spent searching for information rather than providing necessary care. Many nurses I spoke with explained to me that they will stumble across a drain or IV site they had no clue about because it was never communicated to them. Furthermore, the only thing handoff related that was used at the specific facility where I am looking to implement a standardized handoff tool, was a check-list type audit of handoff communication that just says “yes” or “no” to whether or not specific information was relayed. These audits are not always done and once again often rely solely on the memory of the person who is filling them out. There had been previous discussion about implementing a standardized handoff tool between health care team members, but it was never implemented due to the belief that no one would use it and follow through with completing it regularly. Information documented specific to the patient on the sheet would be much more beneficial and provide a more detailed view of the patient. I wanted to find a Standardized Handoff Tool that could be passed between perioperative providers that gave detailed, relevant, and up to date information about the patient they were caring for. It is important to search for what information to include on a standardized tool that is vital to delivering excellent care and that may affect patient outcomes. In doing so I am seeking to decrease the amount of time spent on searching for patient information and increase satisfaction of communication between providers. Moreover, I am hoping to find that a standardized handoff tool is more useful than not, and ease of use would be beneficial enough for all perioperative team members to implement it into their care and routine handoff between one another. Every staff member should be informed of the importance of adequate handoff information being relayed, in addition to receiving some sort of practice or training on using a proposed handoff tool.

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Implementing a Standardized Handoff tool for Perioperative Care Providers

“Patient safety and continuity of quality care are dependent on effective communication.” (Welsh, Flanagan, & Ebright, 2010). This is the basis of my Evidence Based Project, ensuring adequate and sufficient handoff between health care team members to deliver the best patient care possible. Handoff or handover can best be described as one health care team member transferring their care, knowledge, and information of a patient to another health care team member. This can be done from preoperative nurses to the operating room nurses, and from the operating room nurses to the post anesthesia care nurses. During handoff there is an “opportunity for error” if any pertinent patient information is missing from the communication process. The lack of information can “result in delays in treatment or diagnosis for the patient, inappropriate treatment, or failure to provide appropriate care.” (Welsh, Flanagan, & Ebright, 2010). While participating in clinical, speaking with other nurses, and in my own work experience I recognized that there was a lapse in communication of pertinent information amongst perioperative providers. Often PACU nurses receive patients and are not given an adequate amount of information on the client. Additionally, when handoff is done between providers, it is mostly verbal, which requires the person receiving the handoff either to write down what they can as quick as possible or attempt to commit it to memory without any form of written documentation. This causes potential for lapses in pertinent patient information between providers, thus effecting efficiency of patient care as well as time being spent searching for information rather than providing necessary care. Many nurses I spoke with explained to me that they will stumble across a drain or IV site they had no clue about because it was never communicated to them. Furthermore, the only thing handoff related that was used at the specific facility where I am looking to implement a standardized handoff tool, was a check-list type audit of handoff communication that just says “yes” or “no” to whether or not specific information was relayed. These audits are not always done and once again often rely solely on the memory of the person who is filling them out. There had been previous discussion about implementing a standardized handoff tool between health care team members, but it was never implemented due to the belief that no one would use it and follow through with completing it regularly. Information documented specific to the patient on the sheet would be much more beneficial and provide a more detailed view of the patient. I wanted to find a Standardized Handoff Tool that could be passed between perioperative providers that gave detailed, relevant, and up to date information about the patient they were caring for. It is important to search for what information to include on a standardized tool that is vital to delivering excellent care and that may affect patient outcomes. In doing so I am seeking to decrease the amount of time spent on searching for patient information and increase satisfaction of communication between providers. Moreover, I am hoping to find that a standardized handoff tool is more useful than not, and ease of use would be beneficial enough for all perioperative team members to implement it into their care and routine handoff between one another. Every staff member should be informed of the importance of adequate handoff information being relayed, in addition to receiving some sort of practice or training on using a proposed handoff tool.