Improving the quality of communication during handover in a Paediatric Emergency Department: A qualitative study


Paediatric Emergency Department
communication failures
patient safety
qualitative study



There is a dearth of literature that specifically addresses the handover reporting process among healthcare staff working in children’s Emergency Department (ED). Widespread gaps in service provision, such as gaps in communication in handover reports to ambulance staff have been noted in the general literature on the topic. There are also improvements observed in handover when a structured mnemonic was encouraged. Structured reports improve communication, safety and may reduce medication errors. Thus the improvement of handover reporting in children’s ED has important implications for children’s healthcare practice. However little is known however about communication processes during handover reports in Italian children’s ED or its consequences for errors or risks.



A qualitative approach was used. Semi-structured interviews were used to collect data from fivechildren’s EDnurses. Thematic content analysis was used to identify common themes.



Emergentthemes were: interpersonal influences on handover; structural issues; and local contextual factors.



The findings prompted researchers to highlight the need for a standardized tool that improves communication during handover. As such, standardizing the communication process during handover could be effectively resolved by using a mnemonic tool adapted for handover in a paediatric emergency department.


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