Nurses traditionally do shift handovers between outgoing and incoming nurses without involving caregivers. At KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), paediatric patients are often too young to make or communicate decisions about their own care. Hence, it was felt that more could be done to involve the caregivers during the care journey.

To empower caregivers to play a more active role in the young patients’ treatment journey, a team of 12 nurses and members from the Quality Safety & Risk Management and Marketing Communications departments formed the Bedside Handover Team to redesign the nursing handover process. The team organised focus groups and ward visits to gather feedback from nurses and piloted a new handover process in one paediatric ward at KKH.

As part of the new process, outgoing nurses update the patient’s condition and progress to the incoming nurses by the patient’s bedside, in the presence of a caregiver. This yielded two key benefits: it allows caregivers to receive daily updates on their child’s condition and treatment plans as well as actively participate in their child’s care.

“By engaging caregivers during the bedside handover, we create an environment of open dialogue and trust. This improves the patient experience and clinical outcomes,” shared Assistant Nurse Clinician Farhana Begum, Ward 55. 

Through tighter communication with caregivers, nurses have also been able to enhance caregivers’ knowledge about their child’s treatment, resulting in better patient care. For example, during one bedside handover session, the nurses found out that a parent had been giving expired medication to her child. They were able to quickly educate the parent on its harmful effects.

The new handover process also received positive feedback from caregivers. Many shared that it helped relieve their anxieties about their child’s condition as they became involved in their child’s care. With the success of its pilot phase, the new bedside handover system was officially implemented in all KKH paediatric wards in March 2017.

Bedside Handover Team
KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital

Recipient of the Singapore Health Quality Service Awards (SHQSA) 2020 Best Team Award - Patient Experience Improvement Category