SBAR is an easy to use, structured communication format that enables information to be transferred accurately between individuals. SBAR stands for 'Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation' and was originally developed in the milatary context to create a reliable consistent process to facilitate concise, clear, focused communication.
SBAR communication is normally very focused and relatively brief. Most SBARs are around one page of A4, two at most. The aim is to convey the critical information in an understandable way, clearly and succinctly.
The SBAR tool has also been widely used by healthcare teams as a focused way of transferring information about a person's condition.
SBAR can be used in any setting to communicate more effectively. It can be particularly effective in reducing the barrier to effective communication across different disciplines and between different levels of staff.
When people use SBAR, they conclude by making specific recommendations that help to ensure the reason for the communication is clear. This is particularly important in situations where people may be uncomfortable about making a recommendation, eg those who are inexperienced or who need to communicate with someone who is more senior than them in an organisation.
The use of SBAR provides clarity to communication and prevents the unreliable process of ‘hinting and hoping’ that the other person/target audience understands.