A great deal of work is underway at Gold Coast Health to address the issues of fragmented and incomplete communications between healthcare providers to avoid patient harm. This is supported by an overall campaign that emphasises the importance of effective communication.
Clinical handover formalises the transfer of responsibility and accountability for the care of a patient, and with this in mind Gold Coast Health launched the ‘Pass the Baton’ campaign in August 2017 to promote the significance of an effective clinical handover in the delivery of safe, high quality and patient-centred care.
As with sports relay teams, handover is critical in health and every team member has their own job to do. Handovers can dictate how well patients are transferred from one department, team or service to the next. When handovers are managed well, there is seamless transition in transfers, discharges, referrals, shift-to-shift handovers and escalation of deteriorating patients.
In the upcoming months Gold Coast Health will focus on key episodes of handover starting with a focus on the patients discharge to the community. Discharges from a Gold Coast Health service requires timely, accurate transfer of patient’s information to patients/consumers, GPs and other health professionals to ensure continuity of care and reduce risk of rebound admissions. Documented and structured clinical handover processes are in place at Gold Coast Health to ensure reliable and effective clinical handover occurs. The development of the TrakDS system for reporting compliance with completing discharge summaries within expected time frames is another tool helping to make a real difference to the completion and distribution of discharge summaries .
In early November Gold Coast Health will ‘Pass the Baton’ to the community by promoting the association and links between the health service and our community’s general practices, aged care
facilities and other organisations. The goal of this exercise is to ensure we’re working together to achieve effective transfer of responsibility and accountability for patient care.