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Quality and safety of handover in intensive care


Erandi Malika Siriwardena ,

The National Hospital of Sri Lanka, LK
About Erandi
Senior Registrar in Anaesthesiology with a special training in Intensive Care.
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Anushka Dilani Mudalige

National Hospital of Sri Lanka, LK
About Anushka
Senior Registrar in Critical care
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Introduction Handover is an inevitable and essential aspect of caring for critically ill patients and information handed over should be accurate, succinct, and sufficient to allow the seamless continuation of care between teams.

Objectives To assess staff involvement, time taken for the handover, key components addressed, availability of a standard format and factors causing disturbances to an effective handover were the key components studied to determine the quality and safety.

Methodology Study population were doctors and nursing offices working in the general and specialised ICUs of the National Hospital of Sri Lanka, De Soysa maternity hospital and the Castle street hospital for women. Study period was July to September 2013. Sample size was 120. Data was collected using a self-administered questionnaire based on the guidelines on clinical handover by the Australian Medical Association. Data was analysed as simple percentages and review of absolute numbers using bar and pie charts for each ICU.

Results The doctor’s presence in the nurse’s handover and nurse’s presence in doctor’s handover was less than 70% in all the ICUs. There was no fixed time for handover in 92% of ICU shifts and nearly 90% of times it happened after the conclusion of the shift and the average time taken was 30mins. Compliance with the recommended content of handover was more than 60% in almost all the ICUs. There was no structured format for handover in any of the ICUs. Telephone calls were the most common distracting factor identified.

Conclusion / Recommendations Handover can be made more effective and safe with implementation of a printed handover sheet for use as well as an overlapping shift pattern in duty rosters, dedicated time and a place for handover.

How to Cite: Siriwardena, E.M. and Mudalige, A.D., 2017. Quality and safety of handover in intensive care. Sri Lankan Journal of Anaesthesiology, 25(2), pp.89–93. DOI:
Published on 05 Jul 2017.
Peer Reviewed


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