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Scott Med J. 2012 May;57(2):65-8. doi: 10.1258/smj.2012.012002.

Elective paediatric surgery: what do parents really want to know?

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Department of Paediatric Surgery, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London, England, UK.


The views of the parents of children undergoing elective surgery are not well represented in the literature. The aim of this study was to identify the priorities of parents with a view to improve their satisfaction. A questionnaire-based survey was conducted among parents of children undergoing elective surgery between November 2007 and March 2008. A total of 337 completed questionnaires were received. A similar survey was conducted among 12 surgeons, and their views were compared. Forty-three percent of parents preferred to know about a procedure on the day of surgery while others wanted the information in advance. Parents were most concerned with the complications of surgery and least concerned with the scar. Most of the surgeons thought it was not essential to mention their level of experience and the detailed surgical procedure to the parents while obtaining consent for surgery. In contrast, the parents thought that knowing the experience of the operating surgeon and the detailed surgical procedure was more important than knowing the duration of operation and the surgical incision. Face-to-face discussion with a surgeon was the most preferred mode of communication. Although 82% of parents have access to the Internet, booklets were more popular among parents than online information. Twelve percent of parents wanted the information in a foreign language. This survey reveals the perspective of parents about their child's surgery and identifies the differences in opinion between patients and surgeons about the information to be provided before surgery. Tailoring information to the parents' priorities will improve parent satisfaction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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