Wardipedia – 54. Handovers

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From me to you


As you know, handovers are an important part of ward life. This idea is about:-

  • Providing activity (or activity resources) when handovers are taking place
  • Being mindful about patients’ perspective / impression
  • Cutting down the time it takes to do them and

Increasing organisation and effectiveness of handovers

Handovers can conjure up all sorts of paranoia in patients – especially if they can see in on the room where they take place or can hear staff laughing (although most likely about something totally unrelated to them). It’s almost like everything stops. Often when patients ask for a walk, a chat or some PRN they’re told to wait for an hour until after handover. Simply explaining what handover is can help patients feel part of the picture and help them understand what’s going on. Organising protected activities to take place at the same time as handovers bridges the gap and provides ongoing engagement. Even having art materials or games (more) readily available can help patients to be pleasurably occupied and not feel abandoned.

Ward examples

  • Everyone understands the use of red, yellow and green colours. Coloured magnets are used to describe different levels of risk on a magnetic patient status at a glance board. Other symbols and icons have been developed, too, cutting down the time needed for handovers.
  • Wards where I am are using handover sheets which is basically a table with each patients name, date of birth, referrals, their status and observational remarks etc. The night staff complete these each night, summarising the events of the day shift. Using this form keeps handovers concise and structured and cuts down the time away from patients.
  • The ward makes games and art resources available and groups take place at the same time as handovers on most days.


Categories: Involvement, Wardipedia