The Importance of Patient Education in Anesthesia

Doctor checking on patient

The thought of undergoing anesthesia can be incredibly frightening for many people—and understandably so, as many people do not know how the process works. When patients are nervous about anesthesia, the best thing providers can do is spend time explaining the procedure and how the anesthetics work. We strongly encourage our providers to spend as much time with their patients as needed and to reassure them by discussing the anesthesia experience in detail rather than focusing solely on key points.

Tips on Positive Preoperative Patient Discussions

Before understanding the relevant topics anesthesia providers should discuss with patients, it is important to acknowledge that meeting patients with a spirit of optimism and confidence is essential. Even if the patient faces a long, complex surgery, a provider’s demeanor should remain positive. Ultimately, the patient should leave the conversation knowing that they are in the capable hands of a compassionate provider. Showing patients kindness and addressing their specific concerns goes a long way in terms of patient satisfaction.

Topics to Discuss with a Patient

When patients express their uneasiness about undergoing anesthesia, a simple explanation of what to expect typically provides ample reassurance. At CCI Anesthesia, we encourage providers to consider discussing the following elements of the procedure with their patients:

  • The type of anesthesia they will receive (general, regional, or MAC).
  • What to expect from their anesthesia (whether they will be awake, asleep, numb, etc.).
  • The method of administration (inhalational, intravenous, etc.).
  • The provider’s qualifications to perform the procedure.
  • How they will be monitored.
  • How they will be made comfortable during and after the procedure.
  • What will happen if there is an emergency.
  • Who can the patient call with questions after the procedure.
  • What can they expect before, during, and after surgery.

Not every patient will need or want to understand every aspect of their procedure, but these talking points can guide the conversation. Before beginning the procedure, ask the patient if they have any questions or concerns and ensure they understand the answers.

Take Patient Concerns Seriously

An article published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing in 2010 revealed that 85 percent of patients who took part in a survey shortly after surgery said they had been anxious about receiving a general anesthetic. Key concerns included dying while asleep, not waking up after surgery, waking up during surgery, and the anxiety they experienced while waiting for their surgery. Armed with this knowledge, anesthesia providers should take patient concerns seriously and work hard to provide reassurance. Psychological aspects of anesthesia care do not often receive enough attention but should be prioritized based on these survey results.

Helping Our Clients Achieve Patient Satisfaction Goals

When we work with a hospital or surgery center, we take on their goals as our own. Patient satisfaction is always a top priority at CCI Anesthesia, and we strive to help improve these metrics however we can. We do this by educating our anesthesia providers on the importance of patient communication and education. When patients feel heard and cared for by their surgical team, their fears diminish. Our goal is to see an improvement in patient satisfaction scores from the time we begin providing anesthesia practice management services for any facility.

Contact us today at 800.494.3948 to learn more about your anesthesia department’s role in patient education and satisfaction. If you think your patient satisfaction scores have room for improvement, we can help.