A hand-off in patient care can result in a breakdown in communication, which can impact patient safety. A protocol should exist that will ensure that patient care is maintained during transitions in care.

Situations that involve handing-off:

(1) shift change

(2) coffee breaks or temporary absences

(3) change in service or attending

(4) transport within the hospital

(5) transport outside of the hospital

(6) discharge from the hospital (to those providing followup care)

(7) exchange of critical information

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