Anesthetic Accidents More Common in Afternoon

Shortage of anesthesiologists leads to longer working hours, more fatigue
By Jane Parry
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, July 21 (HealthDay News) -- Anesthetic adverse events are more common in surgeries performed after 4 p.m., and are exacerbated by the shortage of anesthesia care providers, which has increased working hours and therefore fatigue, according to an article published in the July issue of the AORN Journal.

Joshua Johnson, R.N., of Memorial Hospital of Carbondale in Carbondale, Ill., writes that fatigue and sleep deprivation are major contributors to the risk of anesthetic adverse events, and notes several interventions to reduce this risk, including educating anesthesia care staff about the effects of sleep deprivation; combating fatigue using naps, strategic use of caffeine and maintaining good sleep habits; healthy sleep; and limiting work hours.

Administrative delays also play a role in the risk of anesthetic adverse events, the author notes, adding that further research is needed to assess its impact. Although short-term measures can combat fatigue, the long-term solution lies in addressing the underlying causes of fatigue.

"Leaders and staff members in each facility must think outside the box and brainstorm to develop new ideas and approaches to successfully accomplish daily surgeries in their facility," the author writes. "Patients throughput, scheduling, on-call hours and interdepartment communications are all inroads to administrative delays and fatigue."

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