JCAHO Makes Recommendations To Help Hospitals Prevent ‘Anesthesia Awareness’
The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations on Wednesday asked hospitals to take additional steps to prevent "anesthesia awareness," instances in which patients regain consciousness during surgery, USA Today reports.
Medical experts estimate that patients regain consciousness during surgery about 50 to 100 times per day. According to a recent study published in Anesthesia & Analgesia, 48% of patients can hear operating room conversations, 48% experience a feeling of not being able to breathe and 28% experience pain.
In conjunction with the American Society of Anesthesiologists and the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, JCAHO asked surgeons to "be more diligent in the operating room" or use brain monitors on patients to prevent anesthesia awareness incidents, as well, USA Today reports (Davis, USA Today, 10/6).
JCAHO President Dennis O'Leary said that patients at risk of waking from anesthesia should be warned and that all general anesthesia patients should be monitored and asked about their awareness during surgery, the AP/Houston Chronicle reports (Tanner, AP/Houston Chronicle, 10/5). "People in health care have been reluctant to talk about this, primarily because they were afraid of scaring patients," O'Leary said, adding, "You have to say honestly that this is a problem and we are going to do everything we can to make sure it doesn't happen. The first thing to do is draw attention to it. 'This is a problem and we are working on it,' is a very important message to the public" (USA Today, 10/6).
JCAHO sent the recommendation to the 4,579 hospitals nationwide that it accredits (AP/Houston Chronicle, 10/5).