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A New "Theatre" Experience for Patients

June 10, 2009 12:02 PM

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It’s a new take on going to the theatre, and the audience participation is unique.

But for some NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) patients undergoing surgery under local anaesthetic watching their favourite movie or a DVD of a television series at the same time is just the ticket.

It is the brainchild of experienced NHSGGC Consultant Anaesthetist Dr Nick Pace and the aim is to reduce patients’ anxiety during such operations.

Colleague Ramsay Thompson in Medical Engineering designed the frame which holds the portable DVD player above the head of the patient while they are lying on the operating bed.

Dr Pace said: “The aim is to reduce patient anxiety during surgery and this ticks all the boxes. We’ve been offering this option for a few months and found that it really makes a big difference.

“A number of my friends use DVDs in their cars to distract their children during long journeys.

“I thought that if it works for youngsters then it can work for patients and help reduce the stress of their procedure.”

Two DVDS are now in action, one acquired thanks to support from renal charity the Darlinda Fund.

Using local anaesthetic means that many patients can have their procedures in the morning and be discharged in the evening.

So far orthopaedic and renal patients, who need surgery on their arm to attach their bloodstream to the dialysis machine, have benefited from the “in-theatre” entertainment.

Claire Butterly (25), a Glasgow University receptionist who lives in the city’s West End, watched Rikki Fulton’s comic creation the Rev I.M Jolly while undergoing ligament surgery.

But even if a patient bursts out laughing at their favourite comic it doesn’t interfere with the surgery.

Claire said: “It is a strange experience but I felt more relaxed than I would have been under a general anaesthetic.”

Dr Pace added: “It cannot be used on every patient as some operations require general anaesthesia.

“We currently undertake about four cases a week using regional anaesthesia and with the patients watching a DVD”.

For more information contact NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Communications on 0141 201 4429.
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