Posted on February 21, 2019

An initiative first piloted at Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Ambulatory Care Center (ACC) last year has resulted in more than 1,300 parents of children requiring surgery being able to accompany their child into the operating theatre while anaesthesia is administered and their child falls asleep. 

Dr. Khalid Al Jalham, Director of the Ambulatory Care Center, said both surgery and induction of anaesthesia can be distressing for parents and children alike. He says having a parent present when anaesthesia is administered can significantly reduce the child’s anxiety and a recent research has shown that the presence of parents during the induction improves the quality of anaesthesia. Since the initiative was introduced in March 2018, paediatric patients requiring surgery for ear, nose, and throat (ENT) and dental procedures have been able to have their parents with them from the time they leave their hospital room until they fall asleep inside the operating theatre. 

Dr Al Jalham says the decision to allow parents into the operating theatre was a joint initiative of the ACC’s Perioperative Nursing, ENT, Pediatric Dentistry, and Anesthesia Departments and was initiated to enhance both the young patient’s and parents’ experience. “Anxiety can sometimes occur before surgery when a child has to leave their parent to enter the operating theatre, particularly among younger children. Since our first paediatric patient was accompanied into the theatre by their parent, we have seen a marked decrease in the level of anxiety of both children and their parents,” said Dr. Al Jalham.

“A hospital, and particularly an operating theatre, is an unfamiliar environment for a child so having a parent there to reassure them makes the whole experience far less stressful. Parents who are involved in the surgery preparation process are often calmed after seeing that their child is in safe hands and will be well cared for throughout the surgery,” added Dr. Al Jalham.

Dr Al Jalham called the initiative a ‘win-win situation’. He says in addition to helping reduce the anxiety level of both children and their parents, it also cuts down on the time spent in the operating theatre because there is often no struggle with administering anaesthetic when the parent is by the child’s side. “We are glad that parents have embraced this initiative, which is evident through their willingness to be a part of their child’s surgery journey. This initiative was introduced to transform the process of preparing children for a procedure under general anaesthesia,” said Dr. Al Jalham.

source: The Peninsula