Improving cardiac operating room to intensive care unit handover using a standardised handover process.
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"Handovers from the cardiovascular operating room (CVOR) to the cardiovascular intensive care unit (CVICU) are complex processes involving the transfer of information, equipment, and responsibility, at a time when the patient is most vulnerable. This transfer is typically variable in structure, content, and execution. This variability can lead to the omission and miscommunication of critical information leading to patient harm. We set out to improve the quality of patient handover from the CVOR to the CVICU by introducing a standardised handover protocol.
This study is an interventional time-series study over a 4-month period at an adult cardiac surgery centre. A standardised handover protocol was developed using quality improvement methodologies. The protocol included a handover content checklist and introduction of a formal ‘sterile cockpit’ timeout. Implementation of the protocol was refined using monthly iterative Plan-Do-Study-Act. The primary outcome was the quality of handovers, measured by a Handover Score, comprising handover content, teamwork and patient care planning indicators. Secondary outcomes included handover duration, adherence to the standardised handover protocol and handover team satisfaction surveys.
37 handovers were observed (6 pre intervention and 31 post intervention). The mean handover score increased from 6.5 to 14.0 (maximum 18 points). Specific improvements included fewer handover interruptions and more frequent postoperative patient care planning. Average handover duration increased slightly from 2:40 to 2:57 min. Caregivers noted improvements in teamwork, content received and patient care planning. The majority (>95%) agreed that the intervention was a valuable addition to the CVOR to CVICU handover process.
Implementation of a standardised handover protocol for postcardiac surgery patients was associated with fewer interruptions during handover, more reliable transfer of critical content and improved patient care planning."1