Optimizing the emergency to ward handover process

Ms Shannon Bakon1, Tracey Millichamp2

1Queensland University Of Technology, Caboolture, Australia, 2Queensland Health, Australia

The effective handover of patient health data from the emergency to other hospital units is integral for the continuity of patient care. Yet no handover process has been identified as superior to others within this context and within the regional hospital in which this study was based the emergency to ward handover was identified as an area of concern. The broad aim of this study was to improve the handover process and handover consistency by developing a handover form that provides direction on the appropriate health data to be communicated. This study employed mixed methods to develop an emergency to ward patient handover form that could also be used as a prompt for emergency nurses to improve the handover of key patient information. This form was developed by incorporating research from various international and domestic handover forms, adapting them to the local context, and using multiple phases of feedback. The feedback was sourced from all levels of emergency nursing and ward staff, hospital executives, researchers from the local university and consumer groups. Versions of the form were updated after the receipt of feedback from each of the key stakeholders. The multiple levels of feedback allowed the successful development of a form that is currently being trialled. The feedback processes promoted ownership and a sense of involvement and collaboration within the hospital. Initial results from the implementation of the form will be discussed.


Shannon Bakon has completed her Masters in Applied Science (Res) from the School of Nursing at Queensland University of Technology. She is a unit coordinator within the undergraduate curriculum and has published various papers in reputable peer reviewed journals while working on the ground at her local emergency department.