Handover in Intensive Care

Med Intensiva (Engl Ed). 2018 Apr;42(3):168-179. doi: 10.1016/j.medin.2017.12.002. Epub 2018 Feb 14.
[Article in English, Spanish]


Handover is a frequent and complex task that also implies the transfer of the responsibility of the care. The deficiencies in this process are associated with important gaps in clinical safety and also in patient and professional dissatisfaction, as well as increasing health cost. Efforts to standardize this process have increased in recent years, appearing numerous mnemonic tools. Despite this, local are heterogeneous and the level of training in this area is low. The purpose of this review is to highlight the importance of IT while providing a methodological structure that favors effective IT in ICU, reducing the risk associated with this process. Specifically, this document refers to the handover that is established during shift changes or nursing shifts, during the transfer of patients to other diagnostic and therapeutic areas, and to discharge from the ICU. Emergency situations and the potential participation of patients and relatives are also considered. Formulas for measuring quality are finally proposed and potential improvements are mentioned especially in the field of training.

Keywords: Clinical safety; Communication; Comunicación; Handover; Intensive care; Medicina intensiva; Proceso; Process; Seguridad clínica; Traspaso de información.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Checklist
  • Communication Barriers
  • Critical Care* / statistics & numerical data
  • Hospital Information Systems / organization & administration
  • Hospital Records
  • Humans
  • Interdisciplinary Communication
  • Patient Care Team
  • Patient Handoff* / statistics & numerical data
  • Spain