5 Points on Safer Postoperative Patient Handovers

A lack of consistency among postoperative patient handovers can lead to poor clinical outcomes, according to research published in the July issue of Anesthesia & Analgesia.

Researchers from the department of anesthesia at Duke University Medical Center examined 31 papers on postoperative handovers and found five commonly supported recommendations to improve patient safety:

  • Standardize the process with the use of checklists and protocols
  • Complete urgent clinical tasks before information is transferred
  • Have strictly patient-specific discussions during the handover
  • Ensure that all team members are present
  • Provide training beforehand in team communication.

More research is needed to set standards for quality patient handovers, researchers said.

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