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More Information Helps Parents Recall Pediatric Surgery Risks

Without detailed risk counseling, parents recall few of the risks of surgery

THURSDAY, March 18 (HealthDay News) -- Giving parents of children undergoing ear, nose and throat surgery detailed information about the procedure and its risks helps boost their recall of risk information, according to a study published in the March issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery.

Daniel P. Nadeau, M.D., and colleagues at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., conducted a study of 34 parents who underwent informed consent counseling, 18 using standard methods and 16 with detailed informational aids. The parents completed questionnaires immediately after counseling and on the day of the surgery, a mean 6.3 days later, to assess their knowledge of the procedure and their recall of nine risks specific to the surgery.

The nine risks of surgery were more fully recalled both before and after surgery by the parents in the intervention group, the researchers found. Parents with lower education levels scored better on both the preoperative and postoperative questionnaires, while mothers performed better than fathers in recalling the risks of surgery, the investigators note.

"Parents of children undergoing ear, nose, and throat surgery recall far less than 100 percent of counseled risks," the authors write. "The use of a detailed informational aid as a checklist during the counseling session for the physician and a handout to the parent increases recall significantly."

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