The Value of a Support Person During the Surgical Consent Process: A Prospective Cohort Study

The Value of a Support Person During the Surgical Consent Process: A Prospective Cohort Study
Elisabeth C. Sappenfield, David M. O’Sullivan, Adam C. Steinberg
Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery, 12 April 2021
Abstract
Objective
The objective of this study is to investigate the impact of support person participation during the preoperative appointment.
Methods
This is a prospective cohort study involving patients scheduled to undergo pelvic reconstructive surgery. Eligible patients were enrolled at the preoperative appointment and compared by presence or absence of a support person. Questionnaires were completed before and after the preoperative appointment, 1–3 days before surgery, and at the postoperative appointment. Previsit questionnaires included the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7, 6-item short form of the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI-6), and Brief Health Literacy screen. Postvisit questionnaires included the STAI-6, satisfaction with decision scale for pelvic floor disorders, preoperative preparedness questionnaire, and knowledge questionnaire. At the postoperative appointment, participants completed the patient global impression of improvement and postoperative symptom and satisfaction questionnaire. Primary outcome was patient anxiety measured by the STAI-6.
Results
Seventy-six patients participated in the study: 37 were categorized in the support person cohort and 39 were categorized in the no support person cohort. The mean scores of the STAI-6 did not differ between the support person and no support person cohorts at all time points (previsit: 42.97 ± 13.23 vs 41.53 ± 17.11, P = 0.68; postvisit: 38.11 ± 12.76 vs 36.33 ± 11.72, P = 0.53, and 1–3 days before surgery: 42.61 ± 13.0 vs 41.05 ± 16.39, P = 0.65). Overall preparedness, satisfaction with decision scale for pelvic floor disorders, and knowledge questionnaire did not differ between cohorts at both time points. Perioperative phone calls were similar between cohorts.
Conclusion
Our study suggests that the presence of a support person at preoperative counseling for pelvic floor surgery should be a personal preference and not a recommendation.

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