Challenges in the handover process of the new-born with congenital heart disease

Intensive Crit Care Nurs. 2020 Aug;59:102855. doi: 10.1016/j.iccn.2020.102855. Epub 2020 Apr 4.


Introduction: A new-born with congenital heart disease requires care that involves numerous specialists. Such care can be provided at tertiary referral hospitals and transportation is often needed. A crucial factor is the handover process, when the child is born at a distance, with transfer of both professional responsibility and continued care from one healthcare professional to another.

Aim: The aim of this study was to identify crucial factors for the receiving healthcare professionals that influence the handover process of the new-born with congenital heart disease.

Method: A cross-sectional questionnaire study with 53 receiving healthcare professionals at a paediatric intensive care unit at a tertiary referral university hospital in Sweden. The response rate was 48/53. Numerical variables were computed and a content analysis was performed.

Findings: The handover process of the new-born with heart disease transferred to a tertiary referral hospital is complicated. A clear majority of the respondents identified one or more flaws in this process. Crucial factors identified were: relevant and structured information, clear communication, adequate patient knowledge and an enabling environment.

Conclusion: A standardised procedure in the different phases of the handover process could improve communication, the working situation for healthcare professionals and thereby increase patient safety.

Keywords: Communication; Congenital heart disease; Handover; New-born; Paediatric intensive care unit; Patient safety.

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / complications*
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / psychology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intensive Care Units, Pediatric / organization & administration
  • Intensive Care Units, Pediatric / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Patient Handoff / standards*
  • Patient Handoff / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden