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Like many of you reading this article, our family has been impacted by the ever evolving challenges that Covid-19 continues to throw at us, none more impacting than the reality of “learning from home”.  I have renewed appreciation for ALL teachers and now have a very clear understanding as to why they have as much leave as they do – because they deserve it! But, learning from home has got me thinking and reflecting on and connecting to a key process that I often observe in residential aged care services – Handover. 

In a residential aged care service, the Care and Services Handover is one of the most powerful communication tools used in managing your consumer’s care. A Handover that is well structured and comprehensive, enables key information including high-risk situations to be transferred accurately when there is transition of care. This process is critical in facilitating and ensuring a seamless continuity of safe consumer care. 

Handover is key in making sure that the entire team is on the same page around the care and services that need to be delivered to each consumer every day. 

For the last 2 Sunday afternoons, this mum – turned – teacher, has received the “handover” from our school – a well structured and comprehensive summary and plan for the week ahead, some highlights of the week that was (key lessons and actions completed) together with and a list of items and resources that we will need to have easily accessible for the week. 

The information that is shared makes it easy for us to know what our plan needs to be, how we might structure the day and the week, what we might need to prioritise to get through the day and how we can have the tasks completed and everyone in a relatively healthy state of mind. 

We have the information displayed and easily accessible to my fellow teachers (i.e. my husband and my mum) and we all work off the same plan, writing communication notes and updates to each other each day. Two  weeks in we are a relatively well oiled machine and generally know what needs to be done. If we move from my classroom handover to your services handover, how would you describe your system and process? 

Is the handover in your service  well planned and well executed? Are you able to answer yes to some of these key questions?   

  • Is there information regarding new admissions, consumers transferred from hospital and deceased/discharged consumers? 
  • Are consumer preferences noted e.g. what time does a resident like to receive assistance with showering and hygiene? 
  • Are consumers showing behaviours of concern or changed behaviour identified?
  • Are Compulsory Reporting and SIRS incidents noted with follow-up actions for the next shift(s)?
  • Have key risks been identified – think high impact and high prevalence risk – newly identified or risk escalations?
  • Are key clinical issues flagged  – falls, infections, changes to dietary needs, consumers who are deteriorating?
  • Have there been changes in medications – are potential side effects and adverse effects identified?  
  • Are any upcoming referral appointments documented? 
  • Have any key outcomes of any case conferences been noted for follow up? 
  • Are incoming and/or pending test results discussed? 
  • Have GP reviews and pending GP visits been flagged? 
  • Have staffing Issues impacting on consumer care been identified and escalated. 

The key to a great handover is ensuring that there are systems and processes in place to ensure a consistent approach to sharing key information that ultimately supports teams to deliver safe and quality outcomes. 

AnchorHandover has been specially designed to assist your service  in having consistent communication and processes and to ensure all staff  understand and identify those consumers with increased clinical risk, particularly, high impact risk.

Carla Beheram

Chief Operations Officer

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