Table 1

Details of items on the ABC of handover

 Areas and AllocationPatient numbers, waiting times, doctor allocation to each areaRedistribute staff to areas in need
 BedsBed situationPlan admissions in advance
 BugsInfection control issues (patients needing isolation, outbreaks or bay closures)Plan side rooms, prompt isolation, arrange deep clean, highlight bed closures
 BreachesPatients approaching the 4-h trolley wait (including recent ‘breaches’)Early referral decisions and avoid further delays
 ColleaguesStaffing issues in ED and speciality teams, radiology waits, support by porters and laboratoriesAnticipate problems on the next shift, prompt arranging cover from agencies
 Consultant on CallConsultant on call to be named for every shiftClarity if contact is required
 DeathsPatients who died, expected relatives, reporting to coronerFacilitate procedures, expect relatives, consider distress among staff
 DisastersClinical incidents/events requiring additional securityPrevent further disruption
 DesertersPatient who leave before completion of treatment (recognised to be at risk)Recall and expedite treatment on return
 EquipmentEquipment failure such as arterial blood gas analysers, computer systems or ‘shute’ (transportation of pathology samples) or any other equipmentReport faults and make alternative arrangements
 External EventsSporting events, local carnivals, hospital events (eg, audit/teaching)Expect multiple patients with specific problems, arrange extra training and resources
  • Then handover every patient. Salient points for decision making and teaching. This was normal practice in our department and takes place following the ABCDE structured handover.