An observational study of patient care outcomes sensitive to handover quality in the Post-Anaesthetic Care Unit Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • To identify patient care outcome indicators sensitive to the quality of interprofessional handover between the anaesthetist and the Post-Anaesthetic Care Unit nurse.The relationship between interprofessional clinical handover when patients are transferred from the operating theatre to the Post-Anaesthetic Care Unit and patient outcomes of subsequent patient care delivery is not well understood.Naturalistic, exploratory descriptive design using observation.Observations of 31 patient journeys through Post-Anaesthetic Care Units across three public and private hospitals. Characteristics of interprofessional handover on arrival in the Post-Anaesthetic Care Unit, the trajectory of patient care activities in Post-Anaesthetic Care Unit and patient outcomes were observed.Of the 821 care activities observed across 31 "patient journeys" in the Post-Anaesthetic Care Unit, observations (assessments and vital signs) (52.5 %), communication (15.8 %) and pain management (assessment of pain and analgesic administration) (10.3%) were most common. Examination of patterns in handover communications and subsequent trajectories of patient care activities revealed three patient trajectory typologies and two patient outcome indicators expected to be sensitive to the quality of interprofessional handover communication in the Post-Anaesthetic Care Unit: pain on discharge from the Post-Anaesthetic Care Unit and timely response to clinical deterioration. An additional process indicator, seeking missing information, was also identified.Patient's pain on discharge from Post-Anaesthetic Care Unit, escalation of care in response to early signs of deterioration and the need for nurses to seek out missing information to deliver care are indicators expected to be sensitive to the quality of interprofessional handover communication in the Post-Anaesthetic Care Unit. Future research should test these indicators.Patient outcomes sensitive to the quality of interprofessional handover on patient arrival in the Post-Anaesthetic Care Unit can be used to evaluate handover quality improvement initiatives. Quality handovers can improve management of pain and clinical deterioration in Post-Anaesthetic Care Unit and reduce time wasted searching for missing information.

publication date

  • 2017