Standardizing Postoperative PICU Handovers Improves Handover Metrics and Patient Outcomes


Journal Article

Copyright © 2015 by the Society of Critical Care Medicine and the World Federation of Pediatric Intensive and Critical Care Societies. Objectives: To improve handover communication and patient outcomes for postoperative admissions to a multidisciplinary PICU. Design: Prospective cohort study. Setting: Multidisciplinary PICU in a university hospital. Subjects: The multidisciplinary team responsible for postoperative PICU admissions and patient care, including attending, fellow, house staff physicians, and nurses from pediatric critical care medicine, surgery, and anesthesia. Interventions: An online survey distributed to PICU, surgery, and anesthesia providers identified existing barriers and challenges to effective postoperative PICU handovers and guided the formation of a standard protocol. Handovers for postoperative PICU admissions were then directly observed for 3 months pre- and postimplementation of the protocol, with data collected on communication, metrics, and patient outcomes. Observations and data collection, as well as the online provider survey, were repeated approximately 1 year after handover protocol implementation. Measurements and Main Results: Survey data demonstrated increases in provider ratings of handover attendance, communication, and quality after implementation of the handover protocol (p < 0.001). Surgical report errors were eliminated (p = 0.03), and the prevalence of provider attendance for the handover duration increased from 39.3% to 68.2% (p = 0.01). Following protocol implementation, fewer patients experienced antibiotic delays (34.5% to 13.9%; p = 0.03) or required hemodynamic or respiratory interventions within the first 6 hours of PICU admission (24.6% to 9.1%; p = 0.04). Patients received their first dose of analgesia (62.3 to 17.4 min; p = 0.01) and had their admission laboratory studies sent (42.3 to 32.9 min; p = 0.04) more quickly. Data collected at 12 months postimplementation demonstrated sustained reductions in analgesia timing, antibiotic delays, and handover barriers. Conclusions: Postoperative communication and patient outcomes can be improved and sustained over time with implementation of a standardized handover protocol.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Published Date

  • January 1, 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 16 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 256 - 263

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1947-3893

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1529-7535

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1097/PCC.0000000000000343

Citation Source

  • Scopus