Oct 1, 1978

Do they do as they are instructed? A review of out-patient anaesthesia

A F Malins


Sixty patients who underwent out-patient anaesthesia were assessed by interview the day following surgery to determine the extent to which they remembered and complied with instructions given preoperatively concerning their post-anaesthetic activities such as, drinking, driving, cooking and operating machinery. The first group of thirty patients received verbal instructions only, except for a written instruction not to drive after anaesthesia. The following group of thirty patients received clear, concise printed instructions in addition to their pre-operative verbal instructions. There was a significant improvement between the two groups of patients in the ability to remember their instructions from a range of 77--99% failure rate to 4--12.5% depending on the sphere of activity. However, a certain proportion of patients deliberately ignored the instructions in both groups. It would appear from this study that verbal pre-operative instructions were easily forgotten unless re-inforced with written directives. Patients from ethnic minorities may need printed instructions in their native language and the services of an interpreter.

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Mentioned in this Paper

General Anesthesia
Postoperative Period
Urgent Care
Patient Non-Compliance

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