Handoffs: Transitions of Care for Children in the Emergency Department

From the AAP:

Handoffs of care — also known as transitions of care — occur when the responsibility for a patient’s care moves from one health care provider to another. Handoff processes in other high-risk industries, such as aerospace, aviation and nuclear power, are noted to be structured and have become fine-tuned.

Health care is realizing that processes used in other industries have a role in ensuring safe and quality care for patients. Consistently structuring two-way communication that is scripted, precise, impersonal and efficient within a framework that allows for reassessment and read-back of information is extremely valuable.

A new AAP policy statement and clinical report highlight best practices and offer evidence and rationale for standardizing handoff processes. The policy Handoffs: Transitions of Care for Children in the Emergency Department is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1542/peds.2016-2680 and is jointly issued by the AAP Committee on Pediatric Emergency Medicine, the American College of Emergency Physicians and Emergency Nurses Association. The clinical report Standardization of Inpatient Handoff Communication, from the AAP Committee on Hospital Care, is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1542/peds.2016-2681. Both will be published in the November issue of Pediatrics.

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