Surgical consent during the COVID-19 pandemic

Surgical consent during the COVID-19 pandemic
Rotimi, K. Beatson, A. Aderombi, W. Lam, O. Bajomo, N. Kukreja
Annals of Medicine and Surgery, 9 October 2020; 59 pp 229-233
Open Access
Background and aims
During the COVID-19 pandemic, surgical practice may deviate with operative and non-operative management considered. Appropriate discussion of options with patients is paramount to quality surgical care. Intercollegiate and EAES guidelines recommend discussing and documenting risk of COVID-19 exposure in the consent process for patients undergoing surgery.
Materials and methods
Closed-loop audit of consent forms for patients undergoing emergency and elective surgical procedures. Interventions implemented included education of wider surgical teams. Data was collected during a one-week period for each cycle and analysed using Chi-squared test.
In cycle 1, 6/17 (35.3%) case notes documented discussion of COVID-19 risk. Following intervention, compliance improved to 23/29 (79.3%) cases in cycle 2 and 33/45 (73.3%) cases in cycle 3.
Pre-intervention, our consenting practice was non-compliant. Our interventions led to significant and sustained improvements in practice. We recommend provision of wider surgical team education to facilitate good consenting practice.

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