ISBAR - Identify, Situation, Background, Assessment and Recommendation

ISBAR (Identify, Situation, Background, Assessment and Recommendation) is a mnemonic created to improve safety in the transfer of critical information. It originates from SBAR, the most frequently used mnemonic in health and other high risk environments such as the military. The “I” in ISBAR is to ensure that accurate identification of those participating in handover and of the patient is established.

SA Health is using ISBAR as a tool to aid the safe transfer of patient information in clinical handover. It is generic aid and should be adapted to fit the clinical context. Adapting ISBAR for the clinical context is an opportunity for the health care team and patients to decide what essential information should always be handed over (eg estimated blood loss in the handover of a surgical patient).


Fact sheet

The patient’s concerns or input into the clinical handover process should be considered in the adaptation of how ISBAR is to be used. An example of how an obstetric unit has created a minimum dataset of information for clinical handover using ISBAR can be found on the ISBAR fact sheet (PDF 93KB).

Lanyard card

The ISBAR lanyard card (PDF 66KB) has been designed as a prompt for staff to remember what type of information should be communicated using ISBAR. Organisations within or external to health are invited to use this tool to assist in the practice of using ISBAR for clinical handover.

Other resources

How to order resources

Details on how to purchase all of the ISBAR resources are available on the ordering of clinical handover resources form (PDF 377KB).


Clinical Governance Unit