Informing parents about anaesthesia for children's surgery: a critical literature review

Patient Educ Couns. 2005 Nov;59(2):117-25. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2004.11.002. Epub 2004 Dec 28.


This review critically analysed the published research literature on providing information about children's anaesthesia to parents. An extensive search of the biomedical literature yielded 11 studies: 6 descriptive and 5 intervention studies. Standardised instruments for measuring parental knowledge, need for information and anxiety about children's anaesthetic care showed preliminary validity and reliability. The intervention studies tested different methods of providing information, including verbal, video or written modalities and showed some improvements in knowledge, anxiety and satisfaction. Parents want detailed information about the specifics of anaesthetic procedures, risks, and personnel roles and this information should be incorporated into the routine pre-surgical anaesthesia assessment clinic visits. Until further research determines the most effective methods, mode of delivery should be based on feasibility so that parents consistently receive more information. Audits of parental satisfaction with information should be performed and used to continuously improve the content and delivery of information.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Surgical Procedures / psychology
  • Anesthesia* / adverse effects
  • Anesthesia* / methods
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Anxiety / prevention & control
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Attitude to Health
  • Child
  • Child, Hospitalized
  • Communication*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Parental Consent* / psychology
  • Parents / education*
  • Parents / psychology
  • Pediatrics / organization & administration
  • Preoperative Care / methods
  • Preoperative Care / psychology
  • Professional-Family Relations
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Research Design
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards
  • Teaching Materials*