Transfer of care in perioperative settings: A descriptive qualitative study

Bryan A. Wilbanks, Marjorie Geisz-Everson, Beth A. Clayton, Rebecca R. Boust

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Transfer of care is defined as the exchange of information and professional accountability for patient care between individuals. This article describes a qualitative content analysis (N = 19) using a closed-claims database generated by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) Foundation. The purpose of this study was to explore perioperative transfer-of-care events that contributed to professional malpractice claims to identify general themes, antecedents, and consequences to improve clinical practices and guide future research. A brief summary of the 6 themes that emerged in this study is as follows. (1) Patients should be transferred to an appropriate level of care based on their needs. (2) Production pressure leads to normalization of deviance. (3) Clinicians need to conduct their own patient assessments and health record reviews without relying solely on another clinician's report. (4) Interdisciplinary team communication failure is a leading cause of adverse outcomes. (5) Inadequate patient monitoring and physical assessment after the transfer of care is completed is a leading cause of adverse outcomes. (6) Transfer of care should not occur during high-risk patient care events or during periods of patient hemodynamic or respiratory instability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)401-407
Number of pages7
JournalAANA journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Anesthesia closed claims
  • Malpractice
  • Perioperative
  • Transfer of care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medical–Surgical
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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