Nursing

Web site spotlight: SBAR + I: Enhance handoff communication with an introduction

Nurse Leader Insider, November 10, 2008

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While examining its incident reports, Hartford (CT) Hospital noticed many accidents resulted from a lack of communication during patient handoffs. Adding an "I" for introduction was the answer to invoking some chatter.

"We decided to add 'I' [in front of SBAR] because we thought it was very important that the clinicians start off with an introduction if they didn't actively know the person they were speaking with [during a patient handoff or over the phone]," says Ruth Brunner Zafian, MSN, MA, APRN-BC, clinical nurse specialist in cardiovascular services at the hospital.

The thorough examination of incident reports prompted the housewide healthcare team, a multidisciplinary committee, to look at The Joint Commission's requirements for a standardized method of communication under National Patient Safety Goal #2E.
Zafian and nurse manager Lynn Ann Jansky, RN, MSN, launched an initiative to fix the communication breakdown during patient handoffs at Hartford.

The first step was to conduct literature searches on patient handoffs. During the literature search, "SBAR seemed to have the most press, it had a good safety record already, and it seemed to closely mimic what we felt most experienced healthcare providers were already doing [at the hospital]," Zafian says.

Editor's note: This excerpt was adapted from the article, "ISBAR: Adding an extra step in handoff communication" featured in The Reading Room on HCPro's  online resource center, www.StrategiesforNurseManagers.comGet a free trial membership that will give you 30 days to test drive all the exciting features on the Web site.



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