Home Health & Hospice

SBAR: For Effective Communication

Homecare Insider, August 6, 2012

Ineffective communication is not limited to homecare—it exists in healthcare and society overall. Fortunately, there is a tool to assist with communication, known as the SBAR.

For those unfamiliar with this tool, SBAR stands for Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation. The four components of SBAR allow organization of thoughts in a systematic manner to send a concise and effective message. The components are as follows:

  • Situation: This relays the circumstances to the recipient. The communicator should identify him or herself as well as the patient.
  • Background: This is the context of the communication, which may include pertinent clinical assessments, medication issues, etc.
  • Assessment: This is the communicator’s assessment of the situation, which should be simple and brief.
  • Recommendation: This conveys what the communicator wants in response to the message.

In today’s environment of standardized tools, SBAR can be adapted to any situation in healthcare, and it’s especially effective in situations that require immediate action. To ensure the best patient care, communication between providers, clinicians, patients, and physicians must be clear and efficient. As such, once adopted by your agency, the SBAR technique can solve many communication issues and obstacles.

Editor’s note: Learn more about the SBAR tool, with SBAR Basics: A Resource Guide for Healthcare Managers by Susan W. Hendrickson, MHRD/OD, RN, CPHQ, FACHE.