A ‘VIP pathway’ for vulnerable people receiving elective surgery

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In this article…Principles of person-centred care and reasonable adjustmentsNeeds of people with learning disabilities, autism or dementia who undergo surgeryAn elective surgery pathway with reasonable adjustments for vulnerable patientsNursing Times AwardsThis initiative won the Learning Disabilities Nursing category in the 2017 Nursing Times AwardsTo find out more about the NT Awards go to https://awards.nursingtimes.netKey pointsProviding personcentred care to patients with a learning disability, autism or dementia requires making reasonable adjustmentsVulnerable patients waiting for elective surgery need support to be prepared for their admission and procedurePatients will often feel reassured if their main carer can stay with them during their admissionA pathway for vulnerable patients receiving elective surgery can reduce cancellations and reschedulingAt James Paget Hospital, the ‘VIP pathway’ ensures vulnerable patients undergoing surgery experience as little distress as possibleAdults and children with learning disabilities, or any other physical or mental health problem that makes them more vulnerable than others, may feel particularly anxious or distressed when they need to have a surgical procedure. The anaesthetic phase can be particularly stressful, and it is not unusual for operations to be cancelled at the last minute due to a patient’s anxiety. In 2012, a small team of nurses at James Paget Hospital decided to set up a pathway to provide extra support and reassurance to vulnerable patients and their carers before, during and after elective surgery - the ‘VIP pathway’ was born.CitationCrossley R et al (2018) A ‘VIP pathway’ for vulnerable people receiving elective surgery. Nursing Times; 114: 10, 48-49.

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