By Jeremy Walker, Theatre Support Worker
In EENT recovery we’ve designed and developed a pre-op visiting plan for patients and their carers.
The visiting plan is designed specifically for patients who, because of specific needs, are unable to access dentistry in the community. Instead these patients come into hospital to have dental work done in our theatres.
Coming into hospital can be frightening for both patients and their carers. The pre-op visiting plan reduces stress for patients and carers and ensures we involve carers throughout the process, making for a better hospital experience.
We visit patients who need extra support on the ward to build a one-to-one relationship. We introduce ourselves to the patient and carers and explain who we are, why we’re there and what we do. We talk about specific needs, what support we can offer and find out about the patient’s worries, fears or concerns, as well as any triggers. Insight from carers is invaluable, particularly if the patient has communication limitations.
It is important to keep the number of staff to a minimum so once we’ve got to know the patient we take them to and collect them from theatre ourselves. This ensures continuity and minimises stress. We ask carers to come with us so they are there until the patient falls asleep and back when the patient wakes up. During the patient’s time in theatre we encourage carers to relax. We take their number and suggest they get a drink, snack or a rest, knowing we will call them to make sure they can be back before the patient wakes up.
All clinical staff are on board and have been very supportive, including anaesthetists, dental surgeons, theatre and recovery staff.
We’ve had excellent feedback from carers about this visiting plan. Speaking to carers I know how important this is for them and the patient. Some carers dedicate their life to the person they care for and they need to know they can be there at every step to support the person they care for in hospital.
If you're a carer please visit our dedicated carer's webpage for advice, information and support.