Background and Goal of Study: Adolescents are a specific group requiring recreation, educational and support services directed at their age and developmental stage. Adolescent perioperative care is delivered in both adult and pediatric hospitals. Adult hospitals may not cater directly for the particular emotional, psychological and physical needs of teenagers presenting for surgery.
However, children's hospitals frequently overlook this important patient population also. We wished to audit how adolescent patients admitted to our hospital for routine surgery perceived their care and what changes they would suggest to improve the quality of care delivery.
Materials and Methods: A prospective questionnaire based study carried out over a 12 month period in a secondary level children's hospital.
Results and Discussion: 722 patients completed the audit, with a mean age of 13 years (range 12-18). 62% of adolescents understood the procedure planned, with the majority receiving information from the admitting surgical team. Many (41%)patients had also sought information from other sources including the internet.
The consent form for surgery was signed by the teenagers parent or legal guardian in most cases (98.5%). A significant number (28%) felt that they had enough information and understanding to sign their own consent. The main complaint adolescents made about their perioperative care was the period of waiting on the ward before surgery. A substantial number (69%) of patients did not understand why they had been asked to fast before surgery. Conclusion(s): Adolescent patients attending our institution have clear views on how their perioperative care is delivered and may make an important contribution to how our service may be improved in the future.
Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, 2003. ‘Bridging the Gaps: Health Care for Adolescents’. UK.
Acknowledgements: Our thanks to the staff of the Children's Theatre, AMNCH.