Improving the Quality of Consent Forms in Emergency Laparotomy

Improving the Quality of Consent Forms in Emergency Laparotomy
S Probert, N Ballanamada Appaiah, L Khan
British Journal of Surgery, 19 August 2022; 109(Supplement 6)
Abstract
Aim
To improve the quality and completion of consent forms for patients undergoing emergency laparotomy.
Methods
A standard for emergency laparotomy consent forms, guided by recommendations from the National Emergency Laparotomy Audit (NELA) was established. This standard was used to score consent forms. Our initial audit of 20 consent forms scored an average of 41.9%. A template sticker, specific to emergency laparotomy, was created. This contains all of the information deemed important by our standard. The sticker allows the surgeon completing the consent process to simply tick off the individual components once discussed with the patient and apply it to the regular consent form. The stickers were introduced to all of those involved in consenting patients, and their use was strongly encouraged.
Results
Consent forms were collected and scored over the following 2-months. Of the 18 consent forms, 33% made use of the consent form sticker, with an average score of 65.2% (improvement of 23.3%). In analysing scores for both the pre- and post-intervention consent forms, we found a P value of < 0.0001.
Conclusions
The use of consent templates specific to surgical procedures improves the quality of consent forms and ensures that all possible complications are discussed with patients. The use of stickers for emergency laparotomy has improved the quality of our consent forms. With ongoing use, we aim to ensure that all patients undergoing this procedure are adequately consented. There remains room for continued improvement, and we believe ongoing exposure to these stickers will lead to an up-take in use.

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