Communicating for safety – Patient identification and handover at transitions of care

Communicating for safety – Patient identification and handover at transitions of care

The completion of patient identification and handover processes are crucial steps in ensuring timely, purpose-driven and effective communication and documentation that supports our delivery of safe patient care. 

During Accreditation week (15 – 19 August), assessors will be observing employees to see these processes as part of the Communicating for Safety Standard. 

Patient identification  

Every day, clinical and patient-facing administrative employees  complete patient identification processes.  

  • The “ask and look” method is used to confirm three approved identifiers. 
  • Identifiers must be verbally stated by the patient, not read aloud by staff for confirmation by the patient. 
  • Only white or red identification bands are  utilised. 
  • A red identification band is  applied to communicate a patient having a known allergy or Adverse Drug Reaction (ADR). 

For more information, refer to the Patient Identification procedure on PROMPT. 

Positive Patient Identification scanning in the EMR Medication Administration Wizard (MAW) is an additional identification measure. It does not replace the requirement for clinical staff to physically check a patient’s identification band for identifiers and allergies prior to providing medication. 

Handover at transitions of care 

Clinical handover is the transfer of professional responsibility and accountability for some or all aspects of care for a patient (or group of patients) to another person or professional group on a temporary or permanent basis. 

The mnemonic used at Monash Health to structure and support a minimum data set for standardised clinical handover is ISBAR (Identity of patient, Situation, Background, Assessment and action, Response, rationale and recommendation). 

When handing over ensure you are:  

  • Aware of your patient’s critical information, as displayed on the EMR banner bar. 
  • Utilising electronic tools (at EMR sites) for handover and huddles e.g. ISBAR handover tab, iPASS handover tool, Clinical Leader Organiser (CLO). 
  • Involving patients (whenever possible and appropriate) 

Please note: printed handover sheets are no longer recommended 

For more information, enter “handover” into the PROMPT search and download your specialty-specific document from the handover policy/procedure suite.   

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