Objectives—The aim of this study was to examine the quality of handover of patients in the resuscitation room by describing the current perceptions of medical and ambulance staff.
Methods—This was a descriptive survey using two anonymous questionnaires to gauge current opinion, one designed for medical staff and the other for ambulance staff. Questionnaires were distributed to medical staff in two teaching hospital accident and emergency (A&E) departments and ambulance personnel in the Tayside region of Scotland.
Results—30 medical and 67 ambulance staff completed questionnaires. Some 19.4% of ambulance staff received formal training in giving a handover, 83% of the remaining felt there was a need for training. Medical staff conveyed their belief that handovers were very variable between crews and that they did not feel radio reports were well structured. Ambulance crews felt that medical staff did not pay attention to their handovers. Ambulance staff seemed satisfied with the quality of their handovers, although medical staff were less positive particularly in the context of self poisoning and chest pain. Both seem to be least confident with regards to the handover of paediatric emergencies. Medical staff were generally less satisfied with the reporting of vital signs than the history provided.
Conclusions—Despite a generally positive perception of handovers there may be some room for improvement, in particular in the area of medical emergencies. Ambulance staff training should produce a structure for the handover that is recognisable to medical staff. The aim being a smooth and efficient transfer from prehospital agencies to A&E staff.
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Conflicts of interest: none.