Children’s Desire for Perioperative Information

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BACKGROUND:The purpose of this investigation was to identify what perioperative information children want to receive from the medical staff.METHODS:As a first step, we developed an instrument based on a qualitative study conducted with children in Great Britain, input from a focus group, and input from school children. On the day of surgery, 143 children aged 7–17 yr completed a 40-item assessment of desired surgical information and a measure of anxiety (State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Children). Parents completed a measure assessing their child’s temperament (Emotionality, Activity, Sociability, and Impulsivity Survey) and a measure of their own anxiety (State-Trait Anxiety Inventory).RESULTS:Results indicated that the vast majority of children had a desire for comprehensive information about their surgery, including information about pain and anesthesia, and procedural information and information about potential complications. The most highly endorsed items by children involved information about pain. Children who were more anxious endorsed a stronger desire for pain information and lesser tendency to avoid information. Younger children wanted to know what the perioperative environment would look like more than adolescent children.CONCLUSIONS:We conclude that the majority of children aged 7–17 yr who undergo surgery want to be given comprehensive perioperative information and health care providers should ensure adequate information regarding postoperative pain is provided.

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