Nursing handovers are widely established within the field of palliative care nursing, playing a pivotal role in the continuity of patient care (Smith, Gale, Glynn, et al., 2012. BMJ Support Palliat Care. 2:A81). Studies have shown, when done properly, they can increase the quality of information being exchanged at these meetings with a greater focus on patient care and patient outcomes (Eggins & Slade, 2015. J Public Health Res. 4:666).
The St Christopher’s Nursing Huddle focuses on introducing an opportunity for a shared professional space, where openness, togetherness and connectedness aim to bring greater safety and efficiency to patient care. The World Health Organization defines patient safety ‘as the absence of preventable harm to a patient during the process of health care’ (WHO. Conceptual framework for international classification for patient safety. Version 1:1. Final Technical Report January 2009). Common examples of risks to patient safety include patients not identified as at risk of falling, inadequate nursing documentation and poor medication administration practices (Delamont, 2013).
The St Christopher’s nursing huddles were introduced as part of a quality improvement training initiative. The aims of the huddles are on improving: (1) communication amongst teams; (2) enhancing the provision of quality care across the palliative care setting; (3) the implementation of safety strategies (4) collaborative multi-disciplinary working; (5) education and training opportunities that build on creating a culture of togetherness where all members feel supported. Lamming and colleagues strongly advocate the use of safety huddles as the benefits are seen in refining patient safety risks and developing teamwork (Lamming, Montague, Crosswaite, et al., 2021. BMC Health Serv Res. 21:1038).
A month after implementing, a follow-up survey identified that 61% (N=8) of staff found sharing of patient information to have improved. This corresponds with the work of Goldenhar and colleagues (2013), which identified that staff found huddles enhanced the quality of information sharing and created a positive culture for collaboration (Goldenhar, Brady, Sutcliffe et al, 2013. BMJ Qual Saf. 22:899). To support the development of this project, feedback is crucial. A mid-project survey is planned to help successfully steer the project further adding improvements as appropriate. A training video has been created to further engage others to expand the pilot to the two other wards.
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