Debrief, Hand-Off & Huddle: TeamSTEPPS Glossary

Debrief, Hand-Off & Huddle: TeamSTEPPS Glossary

By Roxanne Blanford

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Team Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety (TeamSTEPPS) is an evidence-based, team-centric approach to patient care that is widely used to benefit teams in healthcare and simulation training.

This installment in our TeamSTEPPS glossary series briefly explores and defines additional principles relative to improving performance, knowledge, and efficiency in rapid response and emergency care medical teams.

TeamSTEPPS Glossary  (cont'd)

  • Debrief – An "after action" debriefing, review, and/or information sharing session that is intended to improve team performance and effectiveness. 
  • DESC Script – A technique for managing and resolving interpersonal conflicts within a group or team.
  • Handoff – The transfer of information and/or knowledge, along with authority and responsibility, among care providers at all levels and across the continuum of care.
  • Huddle – An ad hoc meeting/planning session designed to reinforce plans that are already in place. This allows for on-the-spot assessment, reassessment, and consideration of whether there is a need to adjust plans (and how to make those changes).

TeamSTEPPS Huddles

Huddles benefit team-based learning environments by helping groups to speed up their work while improving team effectiveness. Quick huddles (frequent, brief meetings) are ideal for achieving this goal. Teams are able to come together, almost immediately, to share information and communicate viewpoints.

In such a setting, medical teams have the opportunity to engage, review and plan while maintaining patient care momentum.

Key Actions of a Rapid Response Huddle 

  • Sharing concerns
  • Discussing resource allocation issues
  • Anticipating outcomes
  • Contingency planning

Sim huddles (the melding of TeamSTEPPS concepts with simulation-based training) can increase skills confidence and preparedness within nursing, EMS and other clinical/patient care teams, and have proven to enhance teamwork and improve patient safety.

Read more in the abstract, "Sim Huddles” A Team Stepps Approach For Emergency Preparedness", co-authored by CAE Healthcare Adjunct Faculty  Karla Olson (RN, MSN, RNC-OB, C-EFM, CBC, CLNC)