Background and Aims Risks and benefits associated with peripheral nerve blockade (PNB) are often discussed between anesthesiologists and patients before surgery. The aim of the study is to determine how patients who had the option of having a PNB for surgical anesthesia felt about the informed consent discussions they had with their anesthesiologist and which parts of these discussions were most beneficial.
Methods Patients who underwent ambulatory upper extremity surgery amenable to brachial plexus block (BPB) for surgical anesthesia were identified through the block room records. Patients were contacted by phone after discharge. If agreeable, a qualitative, semi-structured one-on-one interview was completed 1-4 weeks following surgery. Audio of the interviews were recorded and transcribed into de-identified versions for analysis. A team- based approach was used to analyze the transcripts using thematic analysis.
Results Thematic saturation was reached at 15 patients. All 15 patients had undergone a BPB for surgical anesthesia. No patients who declined a BPB agreed to participate. The results showed there was overall satisfaction with the consent for a PNB. Interviewees thought that good consent should include a detailed description of the patients’ experience, a relaxed and reassuring bedside manner, a discussion of specific risks, description of the benefits, personalized advice based on prior experience, and the use of supplemental visual materials. Participants described reassurance or potential to be reassured if they were informed about the block process.
Conclusions Patients emphasized that strong consent procedures include many other aspects outside of a description of risks.
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