Structured communication tools for postoperative surgical handover to the intensive care unit (ICU) have shown promise, yet little work has addressed ongoing daily communication between the surgery and ICU teams thereafter.


Evaluation of a novel, 2-part communication intervention between surgery and ICU teams focused on postoperative handover and ongoing daily communication.


A mixed-methods, pre- and postintervention survey study was conducted in a closed quaternary medical-surgical ICU. Study participants (N = 112) included ICU physicians, nurses, allied health professionals, and physicians on the surgical team. The intervention consisted of a handover checklist completed postoperatively on arrival in the ICU and a 5-item communication tool completed daily by the surgical team.


Satisfaction improved significantly in the following areas: postoperative handover communication (P < .001), daily communication (P = .001), understanding the postoperative plan (P < .001), initiation of deep vein thrombosis prophylaxis (P = .008), initiation of feeding (P = .009), and daily primary resident contact (P = .008). No significant improvement was seen in communication regarding disposition or overall improvement in patient safety risk from communication errors.


A simple handover checklist improved health care practitioner satisfaction with communication during postoperative handover to the ICU. Concise daily communication tools are an appropriate option for improving ongoing communication between surgeons and the ICU team thereafter.

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