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Thirst Project improves the experience of children having surgery

Theatre Team

Staff from our Plym Children’s Theatres have recently introduced a project within the Trust, aiming to improve the experience of children having surgery.

Known as the ‘Thirst Project’, the aim is to allow children to drink clear fluids up to an hour before their operation, resulting in reduced stress response, post-op nausea and vomiting, as well as improving cooperativeness. Previously, some children had been fasting for up to 16 hours.

Dr Simon Martin, Consultant Paediatric Anaesthetist at Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “The Plym Children’s Theatres Team is really pleased with the quality improvement work that we have introduced to Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust.

“The recovery staff helped introduce a series of measures and have continued to collect data on over 1200 patients to ensure we continue to improve. We are aiming to have 95% of our patients having fluids within four hours and are currently at 80%. Before we started the project, only 60% of our patients had had fluids within this time.

“A long fasting time can increase anxiety, nausea and vomiting and perception of pain in children. Evidence on gastric emptying and experience from other centres show it is safe to give clear fluids up to an hour before general anaesthesia and we have found that it has been particularly helpful in improving the cooperativeness of children with additional learning needs.”

All additional information needed is sent prior to the child's operation. If you would like to find out more please call Plym Theatre reception on 01752 432431.

 Click here to read the Information for Parents/Guardians and Children guide.



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