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Ward introduces bedside nurse handovers to improve rapport with patients

How one hospital increased the amount of time nursing staff spend with patients.
Shift handover

Staff working in an emergency assessment unit at an NHS hospital have introduced bedside nurse handovers to boost interaction with patients.

The team from Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle took part in a workshop that allowed them time out to discuss obstacles faced in their day-to-day roles, how these could be overcome, and how to allow more time for face-to-face patient care.

Five improvements

The team, including medical, nursing and allied health professional staff, and a patient representative, devised and implemented five key improvements:

  • Handovers between nurses will take place at the patients bedside to give them the opportunity to be involved and boost interaction.
  • There will be a computer on wheels in every bay, so if nursing staff are filling in necessary paperwork they are still readily available to

Staff working in an emergency assessment unit at an NHS hospital have introduced bedside nurse handovers to boost interaction with patients.


Bedside handovers aim to improve the patient experience. Picture: Charles Milligan

The team from Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle took part in a workshop that allowed them time out to discuss obstacles faced in their day-to-day roles, how these could be overcome, and how to allow more time for face-to-face patient care.

Five improvements

The team, including medical, nursing and allied health professional staff, and a patient representative, devised and implemented five key improvements:

  • Handovers between nurses will take place at the patient’s bedside to give them the opportunity to be involved and boost interaction.
  • There will be a computer on wheels in every bay, so if nursing staff are filling in necessary paperwork they are still readily available to their patients.
  • A reduction in unnecessary paperwork.
  • An aim to have discharge documentation and any 'take home' medications ready within an hour of the patient being ready for discharge.
  • An aim to discharge a third of patients ready to go home before midday, therefore benefiting the patient and freeing up bed space.

The team will now hold 30-, 60- and 90-day reviews to monitor the changes.

Focus on patients

Emergency assessment unit ward manager Emily Dixon said: 'It was an exciting week for our team with the aim of keeping patients at the centre of our attention and improving their experiences.

'As part of this work, we have introduced bedside handovers that allow our nursing team to develop that initial rapport with a patient as soon as they start their shift.'


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