An effective handover in a care setting is key critical to good quality care, regardless of setting. A new report from The Social Care Workforce Research Unit has studied handovers in 5 settings delivering care to the elderly. They have evaluated the importance of the content, purpose and effectiveness of the handover of information about older residents between care home staff going off duty and those coming on duty.
The research concluded that handovers vary considerably between different establishments but not surprisingly most participants believed that an effective handover encourages good communication between staff and residents, and the continuity of care and safety for residents. Surprisingly not all employees were paid to attend handover meetings. This strikes us as odd. If an effective handover is about ensuring continuity of care and safety of residents it doesn’t sound like attendance at handover is optional? A decision not to pay staff to attend would seem odd. If an employee didn’t attend a handover, wouldn’t an employer seek to take issue with this failure? If it is not working time, how can an employer complain about a lack of attendance?
The research has identified 9 features of effective handover processes
- Being able to listen/hear – not too many distractions or interruptions
- Understandable and clear communication
- Opportunity to ask questions; feedback from everyone listened to
- Punctuality of staff
- Attention to confidentiality and respecting residents’ dignity
- Production of transparent and readily available written records (possibly enabling family to review and monitor changes)
- Viewed as important by management
- Knowing what is expected
- Being valued activities
It falls to managers and owners to give effective handover its place in their organisation and to lead by example. The full report gives practical advice that will be of interest to managers in a care setting but may also be of interest to managers in other sectors where the need for effective handover between shifts is important.
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