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Arch Hellen Med, 34(5), September-October 2017, 583-591


Nursing handover as a factor in the quality assurance of health services

N. Rikos,1,2 A. Philalithis2
1Department of Nursing, School of Health and Welfare Services, Technological Educational Institute of Crete, Heraklion, Crete,
2Department of Social Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Crete, Heraklion, Crete, Greece

Nursing handover is an important parameter in clinical nursing practice. The content of nursing handover is complex and multifaceted. It encompasses communication between nurses, and with other health professionals and the patients' accompanying persons, and it provides techniques and "tools" that ensure continuous, holistic and qualitatively upgraded health care. When conducted effectively, it enhances the links between health professionals and increases the safety of care for the patient. Its primary objective is to provide accurate information on the care, treatment and needs of each patient individually, focusing on the current clinical state and any recent or anticipated changes in treatment. The information-data and practices included in nursing handover should be general but sufficiently focused to meet the patients' needs. It should include information from other scientific disciplines, such as medical, in order to satisfy holistically both the patient (physical, psychosocial, spiritual) and the patient's family. Ineffective nursing handover can lead to multiple problems related to patient safety and the quality of nursing care. This is a literature review of the methods and techniques which are followed in the nursing handover process, conducted with a view to providing deeper understanding of the importance and contribution of nursing handover to the safety and quality of care. It is hoped that this will provide the impetus for studies in this field and encourage nurses to change the way in which nursing handover is conducted. It is noted that the issue of nursing handover does not appear in Greek literature.

Key words: Handovers, Interdisciplinary transfers, Intershift transfers, Shift-to-shift communications.

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