The Supreme Award winner at Mercy's 2020 Quality Awards was 'Nothing about me without me' - a quality improvement implemented on McAuley Ward that saw patient handover move from a crowded nurses' station to the patient's bedside, aligning with international best practice.
Bedside handover is the delivery of the nurse-to-nurse handover of patient information and clinical responsibility at the patient's bedside, with involvement of the patient. Traditionally, nursing handovers took place in the nurses' station, away from the patient. Bedside handovers offer the opportunity for patient engagement in their clinical care planning and progress, which contributes to the nurse-patient partnership model of care, with patients at the centre.
The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting social distancing requirements forced many workplaces to assess how their work is delivered. At Mercy, as well as re-orgnaising spaces physically, removing magazines / newspapers, increased cleaning, use of PPE where appropriate and patient and staff screening for COVID-19 symptoms; how to safely and effectively enact social distancing was a key concern.
Pre-COVID, on Mercy's bustling 42-bed inpatient McAuley Ward, patient handover would occur twice daily in the busy nurses' station. Returning to work post-COVID-19 lock down, McAuley Ward Clinical Nurse Manager Amy Porter saw the opportunity to modify how handover occurred, aiming to achieve both best practice and implement social distancing measures for staff.
"Transfer of care points are crucial for patient safety, and bedside handover has been shown to improve outcomes and also increase patient engagement in their care.
"The disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic brought opportunities too, with people forced to adopt new ideas and new technology in a very short time frame. On McAuley Ward, supported by my clinical leadership team, we decided to change practice to adopt bedside handover," says Amy.
In the week prior to Mercy's reopening, the senior nursing team phoned every nurse on McAuley Ward to ensure individuals had a good grasp on the change to bedside handover. Both staff and patients were asked about their satisfaction with the move to bedside handover.
"Patient feedback gathered as part of our project showed us that patients appreciated being included in this transition of care. Evidence demonstrates that handing over clinical information in the presence of the patient encourages and supports positive, respectful and inclusive communication," adds Amy.
Judges commended this project for its excellent demonstration of team work, its commitment to implementing best practice and its patient-inclusive model, all during a COVID-19 clinical setting.