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SBAR – a powerful tool to help improve communication!


On November 12, the Home Care team presented a webinar on “Fostering Safe, Effective Care Transitions,” with two of our provider partners, Cincinnati Children’s Home Care Services and Virtua Home Care. Following the presentation, several listeners had questions about a powerful tool that is being widely adopted in healthcare today and one we use frequently here at The Joint Commission enterprise, the SBAR.

The SBAR is a powerful tool that is used to improve the effectiveness of communication between individuals. It is easy to use and can help your staff learn the key components needed to send a complete message! Here are the key components of the SBAR:

Situation: Clearly and briefly define the situation. For example, ‘Mr. Jones has multiple prescriptions of Coumadin in his home and he is unclear as to which ones he is supposed to take.’

Background: Provide clear, relevant background information that relates to the situation. In the example above, you should consider including the patient’s diagnosis, the prescribing physicians, and the dates and dosages of the medications.

Assessment: A statement of your professional conclusion. 

Recommendation: What do you need from this individual? For example, ‘Please clarify which is the correct dose of Coumadin for Mr. Jones to take and which physician will be responsible for managing his anticoagulant therapy?’

If you listened to our webinar, you heard how our accredited providers have even begun to use this tool to help patients communicate more effectively with their doctors! You can hear the replay of this webinar starting next week. Visit the Institute for Healthcare Improvement website for more resources (IHI login required) to help you get started using the SBAR in your organization!