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Are bedside handovers the best way of communicating with staff on the next shift?

  • Comments (14)

Are bedside handovers the best way of communicating with staff on the next shift?  What do you think?

  • Comments (14)

Readers' comments (14)

  • Anonymous

    Bedside handovers require advanced communication skills so information is conveyed using a language everyone can understand. Otherwise it involves nurses talking over patients which is not helpful

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  • Anonymous

    do you mean ward reports, or literally as the title would suggest, standing at the foot of each bed like doctors' rounds talking over patients' heads as if they were not there?

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  • Anonymous

    The key things here are privacy & dignity. What if there are 5 other patients plus relatives etc in the ward? How do you cope with the language barrier if you are using medical terms? Can a clinicians true feelings (not gossip!) be expressed freely in front of the patient? Handover in a private room with staff only present is definitely the best way.

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  • Anonymous

    Bedside handover's are crucial for patient safety.

    Where i work we have formal handover in the office then allocated our work load by CNM and receive individual handover at the bedside which includes looking at ivf and epidural/pca prescriptions that are in progress and ivl sites as well as introducing ourselves to the patient.

    This is not breaching any patient privacy as it is not like the doctor's rounds but is ensuring your safety as a nurse to discuss with the previous shift on any concerns that you may have prior to them going home!

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  • Full patient details, including diagnosis, at any handover should be away from the bedside, though there is a place for precise details regarding drains etc taking place at the bedside.

    In a high dependency unit a patient, having had a coronary artery bypass graft, was described as a CABG during handover at the foot of his bed. Although still sedated for ventilation immediately post op, the patient heard himself described as a "cabbage" with all that entails to the general public. He could not communicate but the effect on his monitored observations was marked enough to cause concern. It was only once extubated he could tell the staff what had happened and how frightened he had been. No bedside handovers were done after that.

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  • Anonymous

    sandra roberts | 10-Jan-2012 12:54 pm

    that's appalling and a good lesson for all of us.

    as a patient I would not wish to be discussed at the foot of my bed unless I was
    acknowledged and asked first and then included in the conversation in language I could understand and only if no one else was in earshot.

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  • Anonymous

    Anonymous | 10-Jan-2012 1:06 pm

    my sentiments entirely!

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  • rovergirl6@hotmail.com

    Perhaps a good way to handover each patient would be for the two nurses to sit on either side of the patient ,and discuss with the patient and not each other .the care ,wants and needs for her/him in the following few hours. This would facilitate good care. also any unmet needs wants can be addressed there and then. This way the patient will be fully aware and included in her/his care. we can never get full privacy unless we have private rooms for each and every patient. I feel deeply for that patient who during the time when he needed all his strength to get well he believed he was a cabbage.

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  • Anonymous

    Sandra Joyce Powell | 14-Jan-2012 7:28 am

    in an ideal world, but what about the time factor versus staffing levels versus hourly rounding? are there enough hours on a shift and hours in a day for all of this?

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  • Absolutely not! As you say, communication skills are vital in handing over vital information, however as a profession, communication has not improved in the last 20 years. We do not equip our nurses with adequate communication skill training to be able to communicate routinely with Patients and families, let alone stand at the end of the bed and hand over information with sensitivity, compassion and discretion! What about Patients who do not want to know what is wrong with them? Surely they are at risk of been given information they do not want. 2% of Patients with cancer would choose NOT to know their diagnosis, this is their right! It's their information and they have a right to hear it or not. End of bed hand overs put this already vulnerable group of Patients in a very precarious position.

    All Patients have a right to confidentiality and as we all know, curtains round the end of the beds are not sound proof! Most bays have 5 or more people in plus visitors and hospital staff who do not need access to this level of detail, such as domestic staff, maintenance staff etc.

    Nurses should be afforded the appropriate time, space and environment to hand over thoroughly, this will benefit both health professionals and Patients.

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