HMC’s Ambulatory Care Center Initiative Enables Parents to Accompany Children Into Operating Theater

Press release
Published April 2nd, 2018 - 11:12 GMT
Khalid Al Jalham, Director of the Ambulatory Care Center with two-year-old Amanuel Endale and the Anesthesia and ENT team.
Khalid Al Jalham, Director of the Ambulatory Care Center with two-year-old Amanuel Endale and the Anesthesia and ENT team.

Hamad Medical Corporation’s (Ambulatory Care Center) is transforming the way children undergoing surgery under general anesthetic receive care by allowing parents to accompany their child into the operating theater and to stay with them while the anesthetic is being administered.

The initiative is part of a pilot project that was launched earlier this month under the stewardship of the Director of the Ambulatory Care Center, Dr. Khalid Al Jalham. The initiative links to the results of international research studies which have shown that the presence of a parent during the induction of anesthesia significantly decreases separation anxiety and stress for both the parent and their child. This anxiety can sometimes occur before a surgery, particularly with younger children when they leave their parent to enter the operating theater before the anesthetic is administered.

Multidisciplinary teams from the ACC’s perioperative nursing, ENT, Pediatric Dentistry, and Anesthesia Departments reviewed the traditional management of pediatric patients in the operating theater and identified new ways of enhancing patient and parental experience, which including having a parent present at the start of anesthesia.

Commenting on the move to allow pediatric patients to be accompanied by a parent for general anesthesia, Dr. Al Jalham said:  “The preparation of any child for surgery is a cause of great stress for both the child and his or her parents. At the Ambulatory Care Center, we believe one of the most important ways by which we can prevent this stress is to allow one of the parents to be present at the start of anesthesia.”

Professor Marco Marcus, HMC’s Chairman of Anesthesiology, ICU, and Perioperative Medicine explained that care teams meet with parents in advance to ensure they are fully prepared for their role in the theater.  He said: “We prepare parents for this by providing them with a clear explanation of their role inside the theater before the surgery takes place. They are given detailed information about both their role and the overall process when they visit the Pre-assessment Anesthesia Clinic (PAAC) in the weeks or days preceding the planned surgery. This enables them to clearly understand what to expect and prepares them to support their child as best they can.”

Dr. Balakrishnan Ramachandran, Senior Consultant in Anesthesia and Section Head of Anesthesia for the Ambulatory Care Center was a key player in the setting up of the pilot. He added: “Information about what both the child and the parent can expect is reinforced once again during a pre-operative phone call parents receive three to five days before the surgery. On the day of surgery, they are then very well prepared for what will happen. One parent is allowed to go into the operating theater with their child until the child is asleep. This minimizes any anxiety and distress the child may have prior to their surgery and results in a much calmer hospital experience.”

He added that after surgery, parents are invited to join their child in the post-operative recovery area so they are present, by their child’s side, to reassure them when they wake up.

Earlier this month, two-year-old Amanuel Endale was one of the first children to undergo general anesthetic in the presence of a parent. Mr. Bereket Endale, Amanuel’s father, accompanied his son into the operating theater for his tonsillectomy (tonsil removal surgery). He commented on how calm his son was going to the theater and called the experience very positive, particularly compared to that of his older son who had the same procedure one year prior. At that time he was unable to enter the theater for the administering of the general anesthetic, so Mr. Endale praised the initiative by the Ambulatory Care Center as a change for the better.

Background Information

Hamad Medical Corporation

Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) is the main provider of secondary and tertiary healthcare in Qatar and one of the leading hospital providers in the Middle East.

For more than four decades, HMC has been dedicated to delivering the safest, most effective and compassionate care to all its patients.

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