Introduction: Transitional care and patient handover are important areas to ensure quality and safety in elderly healthcare services. Previous studies showed that healthcare professionals have little knowledge of the setting they are transferring patients to and a limited understanding of roles and functions; these constitute barriers to effective communication and shared care responsibilities across levels of care. Aim: The main objective is to implement a cross-level education-based intervention programme with healthcare professionals aimed at (1) increasing professionals' awareness and competencies about quality and safety in the transitional care of the elderly; (2) creating a discussion platform for knowledge exchange and learning across levels and units of care and (3) improving patient safety culture, in particular, in transitional care. Methods and analysis: A quasi-experimental control group study design with an intervention group and a control group; this includes a pretest, post-test and 1-year follow-up test assessment of patient safety culture. Qualitative data will be collected during the intervention programme and between the measurements. The study design will be beneficial for addressing the effects of the cross-level educational intervention programme on reports of patient safety culture and for addressing the feasibility of the intervention measures. Ethics and dissemination: The study has been approved by the Regional Committees for Medical and Health Research Ethics in Norway, Ref. No. 2011/1978. The study is based on informed written consent; informants can withdraw from the study at any point in time. The results will be disseminated at research conferences, in peer review journals and through public presentations outside the scientific community.