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

A. Bagnasco, A. Costa, G. Catania, M. Zanini, L. Ghirotto, F. Timmins, L. Sasso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction. 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 about communication processes during handover reports in Italian children's ED or its consequences for errors or risks. Methods. A qualitative description methodology was used. Semi-structured interviews were used to collect data from five children's ED nurses. Thematic content analysis was used to identify common themes. Results. Emergent themes were: interpersonal influences on handover; structural issues; and local contextual factors. Conclusions. The findings of this pilot study prompted 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E219-E225
JournalJournal of Preventive Medicine and Hygiene
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Communication failures
  • Handover
  • Paediatric Emergency Department
  • Patient safety
  • Qualitative study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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