Department of Health

Positive words

  • 13 September 2016

Handovers have a critical organisational function, however, in the report of what has happened during the day, often exceptional behaviour will be the focus.

This may promote a negative view of patients and, certainly, not a balanced view.

To balance that natural tendency to focus on exceptional behaviour, this intervention aims to say something positive about each patient at handover.

Good afternoon, everyone, let’s roll into handover.

I’ll start with Sarah Godwin.

You’ll be her contact nurse today.

Sarah’s had a bit of a difficult day.

She got into several heated discussions with her co-patient, Georgie.

The staff reacted very well, they tried to engage with soft words and talk down techniques.

Initially, it didn’t go down so well.

They persisted, which is great, and were able to engage with Sarah and help her along with some diversional activities, which is really good.

That is very unusual for Sarah.

Why do you think that was?

It is unusual for Sarah and I think what’s been happening is that she lives so well independently normally and then coming into this environment – lots of people and it was very distracting for her and she struggled a bit with that.

Also, a few days ago, she had some items stolen.

I think that impacted as well.

Alright, I’ll make that my first priority after handover.

That’d be great.

Alright, let’s move onto Tim.

Reviewed 21 November 2023