Patient Care Handoff in the Postanesthesia Care Unit: A Quality Improvement Project

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The goal of this project was to improve the process of transferring patient information between certified registered nurse anesthetists and postanesthesia care unit registered nurses using an evidence-based handoff checklist and evaluate completeness and accuracy of transferred information.


A convenience sample of 14 certified registered nurse anesthetists and 7 registered nurses working at a single regional health system was recruited.


The Handoff Accuracy Scoring Tool was developed to include a pre-/postinterventional design to compare scores of verbal handoffs conducted in the preintervention phase without checklist (n = 20) and postintervention phase with checklist (n = 20).


An unpaired sample t test revealed that differences in scores between the preintervention phase (mean = 9.50, standard deviation = 3.36) and postintervention phase (mean = 20.9, standard deviation = 1.74) were statistically significant (t[19] = 13.21; P = .0001; 95% confidence interval = [9.59, 13.21]).


A department-specific handoff checklist can reduce the number of omission errors that may occur during patient handoff.

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