Within a busy veterinary practice, it can feel at times as if there is simply no time to stop. There is always a set of test results ready, medication to be administered, clients to call and so on. However, taking the time to properly hand over details of your patients to the next staff member is vital in providing continuity of care. British Medical Association (BMA) et al (2005) suggested that handover of care is one of the most perilous procedures in healthcare; when carried out improperly this can be considered a major contributory factor to subsequent error and harm to patients. There is also the human cost to consider: the distress, anxiety and loss of confidence that poor handovers can lead to for clients and for staff. It is therefore essential that all personnel involved in patient handovers understand the most effective methods and are aware of what information to prioritise.
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