HERE’S a smart idea to take the anxiety away during hospital operations: a chance to watch your favourite movie as you go under the knife.
The Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre scheme for patients to use iPads during surgery is thought to be a UK first.
It is hoped the move – which also lets patients browse the web – will distract patients undergoing regional anaesthetic for up to 10 hours. Music and games are loaded on to an iPad device and films are streamed for free.
One patient watched a movie, checked emails and played chess during lower limb orthoplastic surgery.
Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Headington hospital, is now planning to expand it to its other hospitals – the John Radcliffe and Churchill and Banbury’s Horton General.
It was devised by consultant anaesthetists Svetlana Galitzine and James Matthews for limb surgery patients.
They drew on research that found patients preferred being kept awake as it improved recovery times.
The “audio-visual distraction” project has been funded by a surplus from the Oxford Regional Anaesthesia Course.
It is mounted on a docking unit designed by staff and headphones are provided to help suppress sounds from the procedure.
Dr Galitzine said: “Many patients can feel anxious at being conscious during an operation, so we are pleased that we have been able to develop a way of making that experience less stressful.
“We are currently assessing patients’ experiences with this technique and finalising patients’ preoperative information leaflets which can help them to make informed choice.
“Most operations can be done under local or regional anaesthetic, as long as the kit is available and the patient, anaesthetist and the surgeon agree to use this technique.
“Feedback from patients so far has been very positive.”
Trust spokesman Martin Leaver said: “This is in the very early stages, but we think we are the first in the country to try it.”
Barton resident Safia Baker, 44, was not sure if she would use the device if she went under the knife.
She said: “It would depend on the operation but personally I would want to be asleep. I’d also be worried that in long operations I might move or might jump if I was watching something like a thriller.
“You would need to be put at rest beforehand.”
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