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Anesth Analg. 1997 Feb;84(2):299-306.

Parental desire for perioperative information and informed consent: a two-phase study.

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Department of Anesthesiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06510-8051, USA.


The purpose of this investigation was to identify the perioperative anesthetic information parents want from the anesthesiologist, and to determine whether the provision of detailed anesthetic risk information is associated with increased parental anxiety. The investigation consisted of a cross-sectional study followed by a randomized controlled trial. In Phase 1, baseline and situational anxiety, coping strategy, and temperament were obtained from parents of children undergoing surgery (n = 334). A questionnaire examining the desire for perioperative information was administered to all parents. In Phase 2, 47 parents were randomly assigned to receive either routine anesthetic risk information (control) or detailed anesthetic risk information (intervention). The effect of the intervention on parental anxiety was assessed over four time points: prior to the intervention, immediately after the intervention, day of surgery in the holding area, and at separation to the operating room. For Phase 1, the majority of parents (> 95%) preferred to have comprehensive information concerning their child's perioperative period, including information about all possible complications. For selected items, increased parental educational level was associated with increased desire for information (P < 0.05). For Phase 2, when the intervention group was compared with the control group, there were no significant differences in parental anxiety over the four time points [F(1,45) = 0.6, P = 0.4]. Also, the interaction between time and group assignment was not significant [F(3,135) = 1.66, P = 0.18]. We conclude that parents of children undergoing surgery desire comprehensive perioperative information. Moreover, when provided with highly detailed anesthetic risk information, the parental anxiety level did not increase.

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