Clear and prompt communication is a significant success factor in many industries. Conversely, effective sharing of patient-specific information is vital in amalgamating patient health care in healthcare settings. However, communication breakdowns in the intensive healthcare sector may impede sharing accurate patient information. However, through industry-standard SBAR Template, healthcare providers have a tool for standardized communication across the ranks of health care delivery. This article analyses the SBAR communication methodology and to best use the information handoff tool in healthcare situations.
What Is SBAR?
SBAR is a validated information-sharing tool that fosters sharing of patient-specific information unambiguously. The Joint Commission approves SBAR to facilitate nurse-physician communication that averts patient deterioration. The SBAR acronym stands for Situation, Background, Assessment, and Recommendation. Nurses and clinicians use SBAR to share patient information to develop better treatment plans.
What Is the SBAR Template?
SBAR template is a predesigned fillable document that simplifies SBAR note drafting. The template contains designated SBAR sections where you fill in patient-specific information, print the template, and share it with the relevant medical care providers.
Note: Some healthcare settings encourage soft copy SBAR notes. In such cases, only use software-compatible templates and share them with the relevant physician(s). Always consider the mode of SBAR sharing before sourcing a template.
SBAR Templates & Examples
The following are must-haves of an SBAR template:
- The situation describes the current state of the patient succinctly. The situation part in SBAR answers three key questions: why are you concerned? What is the problem? What is the severity of the condition?
- Background provides relevant background information. For example, a patient with increasing dyspnea can have the condition due to a knee replacement they underwent recently. Provide only true and relevant information from lab results and the accompanying dates.
- Assessment offers a professional evaluation and conclusion of the patient’s state depending on the background information and current situation. Assessment may be a probable diagnosis based on factual data.
- Recommendation is the directive or course of action you wish to pursue or instruct another clinician to enact. You can seek approval for an initial life-sustaining medical procedure before the physician approves further treatment.
How to Write
Failure to rescue (FTR) is an acronym that stipulates failure to diagnose, communicate and treat a patient in a hospital. Communication is a key link between diagnosis and treatment. SBAR standardizes the communication channel; however, most physicians still have a challenge writing and using SBAR effectively. We break down how to write SBAR notes and ease information handoff during shifts.
Assess the patient yourself and collect accurate data on the patient’s condition, background, and diagnosis. Preparing information eases the process of writing the SBAR template.
Fill in the template
Find a suitable template online and select it. Proceed to categorize your information in each SBAR aspect. As previously stated, the situation describes what’s going on with the patient. Background places the situation in the clinical context.
In the background section, you will write a reading of vital signs, admission date, lab results, current allergies and medication, code status, and a recent medical procedure that could cause the current patient’s condition.
Note: SBAR focuses on vital patient-specific information and avoids trivial aspects of the information. It is not a comprehensive tool to discuss medical procedures and undertake them.
The assessment provides a conclusive description or diagnosis on your end. In the assessment section, answer the question: What is the problem, and why do you think so? Use patient data to determine a possible diagnosis.
The recommendation section provides an actionable suggestion such as immediate O2 administration or order change. Also, you can request the physician to recommend or approve your suggestions.
Tip: Use SBAR examples to understand better how to fill an SBAR template. However, remember to tailor the template to accommodate unique patient conditions.
Is SBAR Evidence-Based?
Communication failure is multidimensional and influenced by negligence, obsolete technology, and inefficient information sharing design. Despite the challenges, health care providers still share patient information through phone calls, bedside notes, and medical databases. However, there is usually a communication breakdown, especially when real-time patient-specific information is required.
To overcome the ambiguity and laxity of conventional communication mechanisms, clinicians and nurses use SBAR templates to standardize communication. SBAR facilitates sharing of patient-specific information among clinicians to develop better treatment plans and Avery potential disasters in healthcare provision.
Patients also receive some benefits from SBAR. The patient is usually the center of the information sharing, and in severe situations, the patient may not communicate how they are feeling effectively. SBAR templates alleviate the patient strain to communicate their condition in such cases since SBAR accurately captures their state.
Overall, SBAR fosters a safer health care environment where clinicians, nurses, and patients coordinate to share information. Every stakeholder works to better the patient acting on the information conveyed. SBAR is a standardized communication tool approved by the Joint Commission.
What should a nurse include in SBAR?
A nurse should incorporate the four aspects of SBAR, situation, background, assessment, and recommendation. Under each section, the nurse will provide relevant patient-specific information to facilitate communication of the patient’s conditions and develop effective treatment plans.
How long should an SBAR be?
An SBAR has no clear length restrictions. However, the template should capture relevant information concisely in less than a page for a valid communication tool.
Is SBAR the same as SOAP?
No, Subjective, Objective, Assessment, and Plan is a note-taking technique mainly for psychiatrists to record and share patient information. SOAP and SBAR differ in that there is continuous information to write on SOAP notes after every session. In contrast, for SBAR notes, you write a new template after the recommendation is approved or a significant change in patient condition occurs.
SBAR is a standard communication tool clinicians and nurses employ to convey patient-specific information effectively. The communication tool, however, requires accurate information collection and adequate preparation. This guide will help you use SBAR as a valid communication tool during shift handoffs and physician communication.