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Passing the Baton: Handover between Health Care Professionals - Post-implementation analysis

Handover is a time where patient safety is at great risk. The increase in handovers following the European Working Time directive resulting in more frequent staff changes, necessitated the development of a new structured handover. A large university teaching hospital implemented Hospital@Night, a structured handover to deliver a clinically safer, multidisciplinary out-of-hours service for patients.

Qualitative analysis from semi-structured interviews with 3 night sisters and 9 doctors of varying grades, who regularly take part in this handover was performed. Thematic analysis with representative quites were used and 6 main themes emerged: changes, information and content, logistics, attendance, discipline and training.

Following this analysis, the following recommendations were made:

  • Continue the current format of Hospital@Night, maintaining a structured handover
  • Training for all staff, doctors and night sisters, on Hospital@Night to ensure understanding of roles and expectations at the meeting
  • Night sisters to formally chair the meetings
  • Training for junior medical staff on handover technique
  • Undergraduate medical student training on handover technique and importance of handover