The art of handing over

Laura Schrauwen

Laura designed ICoon, a tool to facilitate more effective and efficient patient handovers in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

In the ICU, care is delivered by multidisciplinary healthcare teams that rely heavily on teamwork and communication. Patient handovers are planned moments of communication where information is exchanged between differ- ent healthcare professionals. There is an unacceptable rate of unintentional patient harm in ICUs due to communication failures. The aim of this project was therefore to propose an intervention to help overcome communication failures.

Laura observed the ICU context and staff activities to gain a better understanding of how patient handovers were currently carried out. Secondly, interviews were conducted with staff to gain a deeper understanding of their experience of handovers. Based on the observations, interviews and literature review, three ingredients were identified that need to be considered when designing improved patient handovers: information sharing, teamwork and context. This resulted in two different journey maps for nurses and doctors, which triggered the ideation phase.

Laura developed ICoon in collaboration with the ICU team and consisted of three components: ‘overdragen’, ‘overhebben’ and ‘overzien’. Overdragen’ allowed the entire ICU team to have the same expectations of each handover moment and ensured that only relevant information was shared. Overzien’ was an addition to the current patient data management system that allowed the ICU team to have a proper overview of the patient population on each unit. The final component, ‘over hebben’, enabled the ICU team to continuously reflect together on their handover process, triggering organisational change.

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