Anxiety is associated with unfulfilled information needs and pain at the informed consent consultation of spine surgery patients: a longitudinal study

Anxiety is associated with unfulfilled information needs and pain at the informed consent consultation of spine surgery patients: a longitudinal study
Original Article
Sabine Fischbeck, Katja Petrowski, Mirjam Renovanz, Rebecca Nesbigall, Julian Haaf, Florian Ringel
European Spine Journal, 5 June 2021
Open Access
Abstract
Purpose
Meeting the information needs of patients adequately is of high importance in informed consent consultations in surgery. However, information needs often remain unmet in the informed consent consultation. The aim of this study was to assess anxiety and pain in relation to the patients’ information needs fulfillment perioperatively.
Methods
We applied a question prompt list (QPL) for patients undergoing spine surgery (SN-QPL) before (t1) and a question answering list (SN-QAL) after (t2) the informed consent consultation. The patients additionally completed the “State-Trait Anxiety Operation Inventory” (STOA, cognitive and affective scale) at t1, as well as a pain numerical rating scale (NRS) at t2 and postoperative (t3). We analyzed (1) the association between anxiety, information needs and pain and (2) anxiety and pain scores regarding information needs fulfillment after the consent consultation.
Results
A total of n = 118 patients was included. Affective and cognitive state anxiety was only reduced postoperatively (affective p < .001, cognitive p < .05). The higher trait anxiety was, the more patients longed for information at t1–t3 (t1: r = .58/r = .74, each p < .001), (t2: r = .38/r = .49, each p < .001) and (t3: r = .29, p < .01/r = 34, p < .001). Higher grades of trait anxiety resulted in lower information needs fulfilment. Higher state anxiety levels were associated with higher pain levels. Information needs more often remained unfulfilled in high trait and state anxiety patients.
Conclusion
Patients’ anxiety was associated with (un)fulfilled information needs. Meeting information needs should be optimized in the process of surgeon–patient communication. Adapting the information to the patients’ anxiety levels seem to be an effective way to reduce anxiety.

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