Maintaining and generating knowledge in interprofessional mental health handovers

John Walsh, Nayia Cominos, Jon Jureidini

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter provides a detailed study of mental health clinical handover communication in hospital D, a large public teaching hospital in Australia. We draw on data collected from two of the hospital’s mental health teams: the mental health team in the emergency department team and an acute ward team. The role of the mental health clinicians in the emergency department team was to advise emergency department medical staff on the disposition of mental health patients and to develop a patient management/care plan to the next point of care. The emergency department handled approximately 220 to 250 mental health patient presentations per month, representing 5% of total patient presentations. The acute ward was an open ward for patients suffering from acute mental illness. Patients could be admitted for two weeks up to several months depending on the progress of their condition. The role of clinicians in the acute ward team was to provide therapeutic care for these patients until they were well enough to be discharged to a general practitioner, community
team or back to their families. Both teams undertook their patient management tasks through daily and weekly meeting cycles of 12-hour shift changes, intake meetings which updated the team on incoming and current patients, and ward rounds, which were reviews of all patients in their care. These meetings had both diagnostic and therapeutic functions. Both teams were interprofessional, containing mental health doctors, nurses, trainee clinicians and allied health professionals, ranging from medical students to consulting psychiatrists.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEffective Communication in Clinical Handover From Research to Practice
EditorsSuzanne Eggins, Diana Slade, Fiona Geddes
Place of PublicationBerlin
PublisherDe Gruyter Mouton
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-11-038740-7, 978-3-11-037904-4
ISBN (Print)978-3-11-037886-3
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NamePatient Safety
PublisherDe Gruyter


  • mental healthcare
  • clinical handover
  • mental health clinicians
  • communication in mental health


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