Anaesthesia | VOL. 77
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Unrestricted drinking before surgery: an iterative quality improvement study

Publication Date Sep 21, 2022

Abstract

Average pre-operative fasting times for clear liquids are many times longer than those specified in national and international guidelines. We sought to decrease fasting times by applying a quality management tool aimed at continuous improvement. Through the application of iterative 'plan-do-study-act' cycles, tools to reduce pre-operative liquid fasting times were developed and applied, the effects measured, analysed and interpreted and the conclusions used to inform the next plan-do-study-act cycle. The first step was the introduction of unrestricted drinking until the patient was called to the operating theatre, with training of anaesthetic staff, adaption of local standard procedures and verbal information for patients. This did not result in short liquid fasting times, median (IQR [range]) 12.0 (9.5-14.0 [0.8-23.5]) h. In the second cycle, fasting cards were introduced as a subliminal written training tool for staff, patients and their relatives. This enabled short liquid fasting times to be achieved for outpatients (2.6 (0.8-5.1 [0.3-16]) h) and pre-admission patients (3.4 (1.8-9.4 [0.2-17.2]) h), but not for inpatients (6.5 (2.0-11.7 [0.2-16.2]) h). The third cycle included lectures for ward staff, putting up information posters throughout the hospital, revision of all written materials and provision of screencasts on the homepage for staff and patients. This decreased median liquid fasting time to 2.1 (1.2-3.8 [0.4-18.8]; p < 0.0001) h, with inpatients having the shortest fasting time of 1.4 (1.1-3.8 [0.4-18.8]) h....

Concepts

Pre-operative Fasting Times Pre-operative Fasting Fasting Times Information Posters Median Fasting Time International Guidelines Continuous Improvement Median Fasting Average Fasting Quality Improvement

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