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1. INTRODUCTION The Quality Improvement Network was established by the RCN’s Quality Improvement Programme in 1989 to contribute to the quality of patient care through the sharing of knowledge, skills and information on quality improvement, patient safety, clinical governance and leadership. The safe transfer of care is a vital component of the quality of care and safe practice (Pothier, et al., 2005). When the process of transfer of care is inadequately undertaken risks to the patient are increased and may subsequently lead to harm (BMA, 2005; Joint Commission, 2007). The Network organised a series of patient safety road shows which were specifically designed to build consensus and concentrate activities on the key topic of transfer…show more content…
The concluding section discusses the key ideas emanating from the road shows and includes recommendations for action. 1.2 Terminology and definitions Several definitions exist in relation to transferring the care of patients across different care settings including: shift-to-shift; hospital-to-home; and hospital-to-community. The latter encompasses the transfer of a patient to a nursing or a residential home. This movement of patients is described using various terms, including: discharge planning; handover; transfer; and transition. 1.2.1. Discharge planning Increasing emphasis has been placed on discharge planning since the publication of the NHS Plan (DH, 2000), advocated the freeing up of acute beds by considering improvements in the way patients could be moved into intermediate or community care settings. Discharge planning has been identified as requiring greater collaboration between hospital and community professionals, since problems associated with discharge are often the result of poor communication and co-ordination between professional groups (McKenna, et al., 2000; Bull and Roberts, 2001). Discharge planning has been identified as a process aimed at attaining continuity of care (Smith, 1998), and as such it should be prompt, well organised and it should ensure that care is provided as needed,
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