Handover is a critical process for ensuring quality and safety in healthcare, and research suggests that poor handover results in significant morbidity, mortality, dissatisfaction and increased financial costs. However, the safety of handover has not received much research attention to date.
This study aimed to measure the perceived risk, degree of patient harm and the systems used to support handover, and to understand how this varied by care setting, type of clinical practice, location and level of experience.
The authors suggest that the results of the study indicate that action needs to be taken to improve communication and reduce risk during all types of handovers. Clinical leaders should find ways to train and support handover with effective systems, particularly focusing on training less experienced staff. More research is needed to demonstrate which interventions improve the safety of handover.