Military and civilian handover communication in emergency care: how does it differ?

There is a growing body of literature on handover communication between prehospital and hospital receiving teams in civilian emergency care settings but little is known about how this differs from handover in the UK military medical services. This literature review shows that civilian handover is a complex process conducted in less-than-ideal circumstances, and it is affected by human behaviour and patient factors. There is a debate around standardisation including the use of the Mechanism, Injury or Illness, Signs, Treatment (MIST) mnemonic. There is limited understanding of how this mnemonic was used by the UK military, how it was developed to deal with specific patient characteristics or in the context of military operations in Afghanistan within which it evolved. Advancements in clinical practice made during conflict are ancillary to military objectives and should be supported by an evidence base before being transferred to civilian health care.

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