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More Research Needed on Patient Handoffs

16444899 According to a study released today in the American Journal of Nursing, more research is needed to create an evidence base of how best to handle handoffs of patients between nurses as they come and go with shift changes. 

Two-thirds of sentinel events in hospitals are thought to happen because of poor communication (Joint Commission), and inadequate nursing handoffs are widely believed to increase the chances of negative consequences for patients.  However, this systematic review of nursing handoff literature from the 1987-2008 discovered that little research has been done to determine best practices.  The Joint Commission now wants hospitals to standardize this process, but there is little evidence to support one approach over another.

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