J Perioper Pract. 2019 Mar 19:1750458919838198. doi: 10.1177/1750458919838198. [Epub ahead of print]
1. 1 Department of Surgical Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.
2. 2 Departement of Neurology Sciences/Neurosurgery, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.
Failure to assess patients’ anxiety perioperatively by means of a validated instrument makes the assessment arbitrary. Studies are lacking about how well nurse anaesthetists estimate patients’ preoperative worries.
To compare the nurse anaesthetists’ estimations of patients’ preoperative anxieties with the patients’ own assessment of their anxieties.
Quantitative prospective design.
Eighty-five pairs of patients and nurse anaesthetists in two ambulatory surgery units in a university hospital in Sweden were included. Patients’ perioperative anxieties were graded using the Numeric Visual Analogue Anxiety Scale.
The nurse anaesthetist overestimated the patients’ level of preoperative anxiety in 53% of patients and underestimated patients’ anxieties in 31% of the patients. Consensus was seen in 16% of the pairs. In fifty-six pairs (65%), the difference between the estimation of level of patients’ anxiety according to Numeric Visual Analogue Anxiety Scale was between -3 (overestimation) and +3 levels (underestimation). Median levels of anxiety were estimated as 3 within the patient group and 4 among the nurse anaesthetists.
Systematic assessment of patients’ level of anxiety could lead to identifying patients with severe anxiety levels and to offer more individualised treatment. The patients’ own estimation must form the basis for the discussion and treatment.