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A simple 1-minute phone call to family members waiting for a loved one who's having surgery not only reduces their anxiety, but it also increases family and patient satisfaction with care.


Nurse researchers from the University of Virginia Health System surveyed families before and after surgery to gauge anxiety levels. During surgery, they called a family member every 2 hours to update them on the patient's status-for example, "The surgery is progressing as planned. We'll call you again in 2 hours."


For the study, 65 families received calls and 54 families didn't. Ninety-five percent of families who received calls said they had a "good OR experience." Of families who didn't receive calls, only 84% rated the experience favorably.


Of the families who received calls, 94% said the calls helped reduce their anxiety; 79% of families who didn't get calls thought that calls would have helped.


"As operating room nurses, we have very little contact with the family," said researcher Eric Blum, RN, CNOR, BSN. "We're pleased that this research showed we could comfort the family just by making a quick phone call."


Source: University of Virginia Health System, Nursing study finds regular communication during surgery is key for family,

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