Patient handovers in the emergency department (ED) of a hospital are unique. The transfer of accountability and responsibility from one healthcare professional to the next is vital in ensuring safe and continuous patient care.
Patient handovers in emergency departments are an essential part of good communication practices to ensure quality patient care. The environment in an emergency department is unique and the patient handover process is a high-risk situation. It has been proved that an effective patient handover should include verbal and written information.
The research questions were: What are the current patient handover practices from emergency care practitioners to healthcare professionals in a selected ED? What strategies can be implemented to improve patient handover practices from emergency care practitioners to healthcare professionals in a selected ED?
A qualitative design was followed.
Population, sampling and sample size
Convenience sampling was used and 20 patient handovers were observed. Emergency care practitioners and healthcare professionals involved in patient handovers at the selected emergency department took part in the research and their informed consent was obtained beforehand.
Data was collected during unstructured observations of patient handovers and using the Workplace Culture Critical Analysis Tool.
Data was analysed by means of the creative hermeneutic data analysis method.
Five themes were derived from the data: communication (the overarching theme), disrespect, environment, handover and confidentiality. Based on these themes, strategies for improving patient handovers between emergency care practitioners and healthcare professionals were identified collaboratively.
Dissertation (MCur)--University of Pretoria, 2016.