Hospitalized patients who are handed off by their original medical team to a new set of caregivers may ultimately face a higher risk of early death
, new research warns.
The finding does not apply to daily shift changes or new patients who see one doctor or nurse at admitting, and then another shortly thereafter.
Rather, it centers on a standard hospital dynamic known as “rotations,” in which teams of caregivers hold the fort for a defined amount of time, sometimes weeks, before turning their pool of patients over to a new team.
Such a transition “occurs each month when a training physician [resident] switches clinical rotations by transferring the care of hospitalized patients
, often up to 10 to 20 at a time, to an oncoming physician who has never met the patients,” explained study author Dr. Joshua Denson. He is a fellow in the division of pulmonary sciences and critical care medicine at the University of Colorado in Aurora.