Better handovers

There are currently about two million medical admissions to NHS hospitals each year. A handover happens when a patient is moved to another ward or when the medical or nursing team briefs the incoming shift about progress and what needs to be done.

It is important that the handover conveys all the necessary information about the patient, including plans for tests, treatment and discharge, so that the patient is cared for most effectively. Each patient will have at least four handovers each day. Research has shown that unfortunately handovers sometimes give incomplete information. Improving handovers will improve care and save significant costs for the NHS.

There are various methods to improve handovers: staff training, use of technology, checklists, protocols and patient/carer participation. There is not enough research evidence to establish which methods are most effective or the full impact of IT solutions. One essential research tool that is missing is a definitive way to measure the quality of clinical handovers: that is the focus of this project.

To learn more, read our information sheet for patients, families and carers or our information sheet for healthcare professionals. Once you have read the relevant information sheet, you may want to ask one or more questions. After any questions have been satisfactorily answered, you can volunteer to be interviewed by going to the Participate page.

You can help us to raise awareness of the project by circulating our information leaflets.