Transfers from ICU

  1. I am a new grad working in a small ICU. I've had a chance to transfer a few patients out to the med/surg floor now, and I'm curious how detailed (or not) a report med/surg nurses would prefer to have from the ICU nurse. I know that their patient load can be crazy and that they're very busy, so I don't want to bog down in details...but, I also want to make sure I give enough information so they know what to expect and plan for.

    What details do you like to hear in a transfer report? Just the current problems and history of present illness? Do you like to hear a quick summary of systems (ie. neuro, CV, resp, GI, GU, psych-soc)? Relevant lab values? Anything else I should be careful to include? Or not worry about relaying?

    Thanks a bunch,
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    About AKav8trix

    Joined: May '05; Posts: 62; Likes: 2
    Specialty: Trauma/Neurosurg ICU, MSICU, ED, Rural


  3. by   RN-PA
    Thanks for asking what would be helpful to us med-surg nurses in a transfer report. I'm someone who likes MORE information rather than LESS, whether I'm getting report from the previous shift on our unit, or from the ED, ICU, or from wherever the patient is being transferred. Basic summary of systems and recent labs are appreciated, but only the "abnormals" are necessary. Detail things like the patient can only take meds crushed in applesauce, date of last BM, or even something like a heads-up on a family member who is demanding or a patient's psych issues are very helpful.

    We have 2-page patient profiles which have lots of info including their allergies, diet, history, and care plan that some nurses send before a patient is transferred and those are helpful to quickly scan. Our hospital went from verbal reports to handwritten reports a few years ago that have ranged from very detailed (RARE!) to practically nothing, where we ended up getting patients who were big surprizes. When I get a sketchy report for a transfer, I call the extension and speak to the nurse who sent it, and ask for more details. The hospital is now starting to go back to verbal reports which will be great, but we will have to make ourselves available when the calls come since it gets frustrating-- and downright maddening-- for the ED or ICU nurse to be told that the nurse is busy and will call right back, and then the nurse receiving report doesn't call back-- either intentionally or by accident. As it stands now, when we get the transfer report in the pneumatic tube, the transferring unit is allowed to bring the patient up in 5-15 minutes, so yes, there isn't much time to read, but I still like to be prepared.
  4. by   Lisbeth
    I'm on the med-surg end of the transfers, and I the date of the last BM is missed a lot in our reports. It takes a lot of time to research the chart once the patient gets to our floor, and the ICU charting is different than ours. Also, the med sheets are different, since our ICU is computerized, and it is really difficult to figure out when meds were last given. If a patient has Q 8 hrs antibiotics, it would be helpful if the ICU nurse tells me the schedule. Another big thing I like to know is whythe patient ended up in ICU in the first place; for example, if the pt went to ICU after surgery, was it because of excessive blood loss or history of heart problems, etc. RN-PA is right about giving more rather than less information. I believe it probably goes the reverse way too...what information do you like to get from the med-surg nurses when they give you a patient? Thinking about what information is important for you will help you figure out what to say in report.