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Anaesthesia. 2004 Jul;59(7):658-63.

Handover of responsibility for the anaesthetised patient - opinion and practice.

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The General Infirmary at Leeds, Great George Street, Leeds LS1 3EX, UK.


Anaesthesia is a critical and complex process that extends from the pre-operative assessment through to the postoperative management of patients. Handover of responsibility for logistical as opposed to patient-orientated reasons may compromise that process of care. If such handover becomes inevitable with shift-based patterns of working, the implications need to be considered and procedures developed in order to minimise adverse consequences. This survey of national practice reveals little formalisation of procedure and a spectrum of opinion on the relevance of the key considerations. There is, however, a majority view amongst respondents that national guidelines would be of value and that professional defensibility would be aided by standardisation and documentation of any handover.

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