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Priority 10

What are the most effective communication methods (e.g. handover, rounds, etc.) between healthcare providers on a general paediatric inpatient unit (GPIU)? 

Concrete Wall

Verbal and written communication between healthcare providers are essential components for the effective delivery of care in paediatric settings. Numerous barriers in paediatric hospital care exist that may contribute to communication difficulties and/or discrepancies between healthcare providers, including: a lack of structure and standardization for communication, uncertainty about responsibility for specific aspects of the patient’s care management, and differences in communication styles (e.g. brief versus descriptive).  

Gaps in Evidence

Paediatric patients in GPIUs are cared for by multi-disciplinary teams of healthcare providers. Efficient, effective, and safe communication processes are needed to ensure optimal flow of information between healthcare professionals. Evidence that focuses on effective communication methods between provider teams in different GPIU settings and between different allied healthcare professionals is lacking.

Directions for Future Research

Potential research questions and/or directions for future studies include, but are not limited to: 

  • What is the optimal structure (e.g. I-PASS) and method (e.g. verbal, electronic) to provide medical handover between multi-disciplinary teams on the GPIU?  

  • How should communications related to subspecialty consultations in GPIUs be structured?  

  • How should team communication regarding patient disposition between the Emergency Department and GPIUs be structured to optimize patient outcome? 

  • How are factors such as situational awareness and institutional hospital capacity communicated between healthcare teams?

  • How should the lack of communication between healthcare providers (e.g. doctors, nurses, and specialists) be addressed?


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