The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses’ standards for establishing and sustaining healthy work environments identify skilled communication as a standard that creates a safe work environment. Good communication also increases satisfaction of patients and their family members and decreases errors, ensuring safe passage for patients. Breakdown in communication was identified as a root cause in more than 65% of 3000 sentinel events analyzed by The Joint Commission. Nurse-to-nurse handoff of patient care presents a large risk for potential miscommunication. Therefore, in January 2006, The Joint Commission instituted “Handoff Communication” as a National Patient Safety Goal. Improving communication at handoff begins with a standardized process.

Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) Franciscan Health System’s Regional Hospital is a 26-bed long-term acute care hospital (LTAC). LTACs play an important role in the continuum of care for chronically critically ill patients. Patients in the intensive...

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