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12 hour chart checks is a small window to "look back" on a patients orders, to make sure they are carried out, vs the 24 hour chart check encompasses a whole 24 hour period, which is invaluable especially if its your first night back after being off for 3 nights if you work in an LTAC as myself, you want to know what orders have been written, who came in to see the patient, what other service was consulted, a lot of times its information that's omitted in report that you can find out by doing a 24hour chart check. In acute care I think you still need a 24 hour check, because patients don't stay as long as an LTAC, you need to stay on top of changes.
We work 12 hrs on our floor. I check the charts when I come on after report. The previous nurse did the same thing so technically our floor actually does "24 hour chart checks" every 12 hours. If you "Note" every new order in the chart that occurs during your shift that essentially is a 12 hour chart check.
Its pretty effective because things typically get missed if they're gonna get missed only at shift change and when a new admit or transfer comes in. If a new order was written close to shift change and you didn't get a report on it by doing your chart check when you come in you can be sure it gets noted and taken care of. If a admission occured several days earlier and the admitting nurse missed something it also helps that the second and third nurse coming on after the admitting nurse reviews the orders again by doing the next 12 hr and then the next 12 hr chart check thereby completing tthe 24 hour chart check.
I check my charts as soon as I do a peak at the patients to make sure they're breathing and get report. I find stuff I sure don't want to have to address at 2 am..."Oops, they're going for a colonoscopy, and they haven't been prepped." I personally think the chart check should be part of the change of shift report process.