Patient participation is an important goal in today’s health care and considered necessary to achieve safe and quality patient care. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the historical and theoretical background surrounding the concept of patient participation in health care and specifically to examine patient participation strategies which have been reported to be of influence when employed during the nurse to nurse and patient to nurse activities encompassed in the bedside handover. The bedside handover is the nursing activity of transferring primary nursing responsibility of care from one nurse to another. Encouraging patients to participate during this process facilitates the sharing of information, knowledge, communication, care planning and patient self-care. Empirical studies on patient participation during the nursing bedside handover among inpatient adults were selected from the databases of CINAHL. Criteria for selection included empirical studies published in English and in peer reviewed journals from September 2007 to August 2017. Eight studies published between 2011-2017 are presented in this paper. Most studies (n = 6) used qualitative methods. Patients viewed the bedside handover as an opportunity to partner in care, to be informed, to ask questions and correct inaccuracies. Barriers included the use of medical jargon, lack of patient desire to participate, nurses dominating the conversation, and patients feeling ignored. The majority of studies were conducted at single-site settings. Further research is warranted to examine whether the nursing bedside handover leads to improved patient outcomes.

Experience Framework

This article is associated with the Patient, Family & Community Engagement lens of The Beryl Institute Experience Framework. (http://bit.ly/ExperienceFramework)