Together is a new resource for anyone affected by pediatric cancer - patients and their parents, family members, and friends.Learn More
The coordination of care involves a number of transitions, or handoffs, from one team member to another. Smooth transitions and accurate communication among team members are important aspects of daily patient care.
Handoffs can sometimes be stressful and confusing for patient and families. It is helpful to understand what information nurses and others share. Some hospitals have specific handoff procedures to reduce the chance for error and improve the patient experience.
Transitions of care, or handoffs, typically happen when:
During transitions, important information is shared. This guarantees that the incoming care team member has the latest information.
Information shared during handoffs includes:
Nurses usually ask questions to confirm information multiple times a day. This this can be frustrating for patients and families. However, this reduces the chance for mistakes. Clear, accurate communication among team members helps keep patients safe.
Many hospitals have specific procedures for communication during transitions. These protocols vary from hospital to hospital, but generally include some key elements.
Some situations require team members involved in handoffs to identify themselves to each other, including their roles and jobs.
It can be stressful and confusing to keep track of all the people involved in a child’s care. Caregivers have an added responsibility because children cannot advocate for themselves as adults do.
There are a number of ways patients and families can help in care coordination. Taking an active role can reduce worry, stress and the potential for mistakes.
Use a notebook to write down:
When possible, let children help. Children may have their own questions. They often remember things that parents may miss. Get to know the care team by adding information such as their favorite hobbies or sports teams. This can help build better relationships that improve communication and care.
Reviewed: June 2018