Handover Relay

Handing over to other healthcare staff (such as handing over to an arriving ambulance, to a triage nurse or even to another first aider) is something that we need to do often when doing first aid. Despite this, we tend to not spend much time actually practicing them or learning how to do them effectively. We usually give some useful acronyms (e.g. ASHICE or ATMIST) and leave it at that. This simple scenario-based activity can be a good way of getting people used to passing on information quickly and accurately so that the best care can be given to the patient.

We can always practice doing a handover at the end of each scenario we carry out (and this should probably be encouraged!) but we think that it's also useful to put it to the test in a more intense way. Pick as scenario that will let the first aider do quite a lot or gain quite a lot of information (an example of the kind of thing we mean is discussed at the bottom of this article). In pairs, the first aiders will treat the patient for two minutes and then hand over to the next pair of first aiders to continue treating. This carries on in a chain. So the first pair treat for two mins and then have to handover to pair number two who then have two mins to continue treatment before having to hand over to pair number three and so on and so forth. You can keep going round in a chain (so pairs will treat more than once) until you are happy that everyone has had a good go and/or the patient had been thoroughly treated.

Each team will find that two minutes is not very long and that if they don't get information passed on, they wo;; be starting from square one every time and will likely miss things that have actually already been done. You could get the final team to give the facilitator a handover that covers the whole treatment from the beginning of the exercise to see just how much has been passed on.

What kind of scenario will work?
There needs to be quite of information available or treatment things to do in the scenario so it is likely to be a more complex one. A trauma situation is a good example of a situation that might work well as there is plenty of opportunity for different treatments to be carried out and different assessments to be completed. You could also get the patient to change over time (i.e. to get better or worse) as this will test if this information is noticed and consequently passed on until the last treatment.

Practical Tips:
  • Get the teams not currently treating to wait outside the room so they don't get hints as to what is happening.
  • You need to make sure that the scenario has enough substance so that there is more information to pass on each time.
  • If teams are taking ages to handover, consider giving them a reasonable time limit.

Have you tried this idea out? Let us know how it went or give us your top tips to make it work well! If you are logged in, your usename will be assigned to the comment.

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