Clinical Handover

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Standardization of clinical handover

Standardization of clinical handover


The field of nursing has been surrounded by many issues. One of the core issues that this field faces is the lack of staff or human resources. To combat this issue healthcare settings prefer to distribute the duties of the staff in shifts. In addition to this, health care is an industry that works 24/7 and a single person cannot work for the whole day so there needs to be shifts. This shifting system requires handing over of patients to the staff of one shift to another. Sometimes patients are transferred from one clinical setting to another for better treatment or for many other reasons.

Clinical handover can be explained as the handing over the responsibility and accountability related to the care of the patient from one healthcare provider or team of health care provider to another healthcare provider or team of a healthcare provider.

This handover process involves many issues and dilemmas. As a result of the process of handover various issues germinate. These issues can be resolved with the help of implementation of proper standardization. The advantages and disadvantages of standardization of the process of handover are elaborated in the following paragraphs.

Disadvantages of not having standardization in handover process

The significance of standardization can be revealed by this statement that states that one of the main reasons behind inappropriate hand over is the lack of proper structure or standard in place (WHO, 2007).

Increases adverse events

The process of clinical handover is of great concern for the safety of the patient. Inefficient handover process may results in adverse events and it also involves the susceptibility of discontinuity of care. (Wong et al, 2004)

Improper care

Different individuals have different approaches to deal with a certain situation. So, when a nurse handovers a patient to another nurse the patient has to change of behaviour. Some patients get attached or become closed to some nurse. Patients feel comfortable to share their problems with the nurse with whom they are more closed and register their problems and illnesses more appropriately. The process of handover may create a situation in which patient has to communicate with the nurse with whom he or she is not comfortable and the patient may not be able to register his or her problems because the patient thinks that the new nurse may not have extensive knowledge about his or her illness.

Lack of scope of improvement

Absence of proper system of handover creates many nuisances. Because of lack of proper standardization of handover process healthcare organizations are unable to measure the performances of the staff. As there are no standards or rules to follow regarding the process of handover, performance of the staff related to this task cannot be measured. As the shortcomings of the staff's performance related to conducting the process of handover is not recorded due to the lack of presence of proper guidance and standardization, it is difficult for the healthcare organizations to recognize and address frequent mistakes and errors that occur ...
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