January’s Safety Behavior of the Month is a process many of us are already using, it’s SBAR! That’s great! However, it’s always a good idea to refresh our knowledge, especially when it’s information about how to keep our patients safe. So here’s a little reminder of what SBAR means and why we practice it:
Handoffs of information are risky for patients and associates and require complete and accurate communication to avoid errors. A handoff is intended to share situational awareness, a mental model of what is going on with a patient or a situation.
SBAR is an acronym that helps us remember specific types of information that should be communicated. Each letter stands for a type of information that is important to communicate in a handoff. The best information to emphasize is what is different or unusual about that patient or situation. If one does not emphasize what is different or unusual, the receiver will assume what is typical and usual. This assumption often results in judgments made based on incorrect information.
Situation – What is the problem, patient, or project? Who or what you’re calling about, the immediate problem, your concerns.
Background – What is the relevant information? Review of pertinent information, procedure, patient condition.
Assessment – What is your current read of the problem or patient? Your view of the situation now: “I think the problem is…” or “I’m not sure what the problem is.”
Recommendation – What is your request or recommendation? Urgency of action: “I feel that someone needs to come to the bedside to see the patient.”
If you would like to download and print a flyer about SBAR for your breakroom or communication board, click here.