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Patient, family and nurse experiences with patient presence during handovers in acute care hospital settings

a systematic review of qualitative evidence

McCloskey, Rose M.1,3; Furlong, Karen E.1,3; Hansen, Linda2,3

JBI Database of Systematic Reviews and Implementation Reports: May 2019 - Volume 17 - Issue 5 - p 754–792
doi: 10.11124/JBISRIR-2017-003737

Objective: The objective of this systematic review was to synthesize the best available evidence on patients’, family members’ and nurses’ experiences with bedside handovers in acute care settings.

Introduction: The transfer of patient information between nurses represents a critical component of safety within health care. Conducting handover at the bedside allows patients and families to participate in information exchanges. Studies that address bedside handover highlight benefits and concerns with their implementation. Insight into patients’, families’ and nurses’ experiences with bedside handovers can help to identify the most appropriate and safest approach to handovers.

Inclusion criteria: The current review considered patients, family members and nurses in the acute care hospital setting. Nurses included licensed nurses, registered nurses, practical nurses, nursing assistants, nurse researchers, and advanced practice nurses.

Methods: A three-step search strategy was used to identify English language qualitative primary research studies. Two reviewers independently appraised the included studies using the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) Critical Appraisal Checklist for Qualitative Research. Qualitative studies that considered attitudes, beliefs and experiences of patients, families and nurses on patient presence during bedside handover were considered for this review. Papers included in the review were from 1998 to 2017.

Results: The review included 12 qualitative publications. Key findings were extracted and classified as unequivocal (U) or credible (C). A total of 96 findings were extracted and aggregated into 14 categories. From the 14 categories, five synthesized findings were developed: i) becoming more informed; ii) upholding confidentiality and privacy; iii) varying desire and ability to participate; iv) individualizing patient care; and v) challenges in conducting bedside handovers can be overcome with adaptive practices.

Conclusions: This review captured the experiences of patients, families and nurses with patient presence during bedside handovers in a hospital setting. For the most part, patients and families describe bedside handover positively, reporting feeling more informed and engaged in care. This review highlights areas where patients’ and nurses’ views on bedside reporting may differ, particularly in the areas of desire to participate and the need for confidentiality. Although hospital environments can create challenges in sharing personal patient information at the bedside, these may be overcome through education and by the adoption of a flexible and individualized approach.

1Department of Nursing and Health Sciences, University of New Brunswick, Saint John, Canada

2Department of Information Services and Systems, University of New Brunswick, Saint John, Canada

3The University of New Brunswick (UNB) Saint John Collaboration for Evidence-Informed Healthcare: a Joanna Briggs Institute Affiliated Group

Correspondence: Rose M. McCloskey,

There is no conflict of interest in this project.

© 2019 by Lippincott williams & Wilkins, Inc.
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