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A Warm Handoff Checklist

A warm handoff can be an important part of your patient care routine.  It is important to the patient, the previous healthcare provider and the current healthcare provider so that the best possible care can be given.  A warm handoff can reduce the risk of important patient needs slipping through the cracks.  If you are a member of a healthcare team here is a simple checklist you can use to provide a proper warm handoff.  There are more ideas you can add to your checklist as you start to practice it and decide you need to change it.  A warm handoff can consist of a short meeting with the patient and the new healthcare member and can include the following:

  • Introduce new staff to the patient
  • Summarize reason for the patient visit
  • Highlight important changes
  • Ask the patient for their remarks
  • Bring up any additional issues or concerns

Here are a few brief examples of a warm handoff:

  • Before your shift is over, introduce your patient to the person who is replacing you.
  • Have a brief meeting with the new healthcare provider to highlight important patient care needs.
  • Make sure that your documentation is up to date and review it with the patient care team before leaving.
  • At the end of a patient visit, make sure the patient is seen one last time to be given a visit summary and ongoing follow-up care needs.

When using a warm handoff, it can be beneficial to continue to evaluate your practice and the effectiveness of it.  A warm handoff system can be something that is practiced and updated over time.
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