Do patient information booklets increase perioperative anxiety?

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Patient attitudes to medical information are changing. We audited patient attitudes to an information leaflet provided at the preadmission clinic as part of standard day-case protocol. The booklet is a simplified version of the booklet Anaesthesia and Anaesthetists – Information for Patients and Relatives published in London, UK, by the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain & Ireland. One hundred and three patients were surveyed before surgery over a 2-month period using an anonymous questionnaire. Of the 96% of patients who read the booklet provided, 99% found it helpful to some degree. Thirty-five per cent of patients found it worried them. Thirty-two per cent discussed the information with others but only 3% discussed the information provided with the anaesthetist. Although patients like to receive information about the process of anaesthesia, we must be careful that by providing it in an inappropriate form, e.g. as a leaflet, we do not increase their preoperative anxiety.

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