Background: Patient participation in handover is one aspect of patient-centred care, where patients are considered partners in care. Understanding the patient perspective provides a foundation for nurses to tailor their bedside handovers to reflect patients' thoughts and beliefs and encourage their active involvement in decision-making.
Aim: This study examined patients' perspectives of participation in shift-to-shift bedside nursing handover.
Methods: A descriptive case study was conducted with 10 patients in one Queensland hospital who had experienced bedside handover during their hospitalisation in 2009. Participants were asked their views about bedside handover including its benefits and limitations, their existing and potential role in handover, the role of family members, and issues related to confidentiality. Data were analysed using thematic content analysis.
Findings: Four themes emerged from the analysis. First, patients appreciated being acknowledged as partners in their care. Second, they viewed bedside handover as an opportunity to amend any inaccuracies in the information being communicated. Third, some preferred passive engagement rather than being fully engaged in the handover. Fourth, most patients appreciated the inclusive approach of handover as nurse-patient interaction.
Conclusions: Bedside handover provides an opportunity for patients to be involved as active participants in their care. They value having access to information on an ongoing basis, and although not all choose the same level of interaction, they see their role as important in maintaining accuracy, which promotes safe, high quality care.