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Pre-surgery checklist to 'accommodate' patients with beliefs

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A specialist hospital trust has designed a pre-surgery checklist which aims to promote patient choice and accommodate people with beliefs.

The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust, which is the only hospital trust in the UK to specialise in neurology, neurosurgery and pain management, has introduced a new project which will see staff asking patients about their preference of surgical materials.

“This will ensure that the individual patient’s choices are respected with regards to plasma derivatives”

Tom Gregory

The idea comes from Bev Jones, a senior operating department practitioner at the trust, who designed the checklist to help accommodate people with beliefs, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The newly introduced checks will give patients the choice of whether surgical materials that contain plasma derivatives or not, are used in their surgery.

Ms Jones said she thought of the checklist after researching what materials used in surgery contain plasma derivatives.

She said: “I oversee the department’s cell saver machine, which is used in surgery to circulate a patient’s own blood, removing the need for a blood transfusion.

“It’s an amazing piece of kit and it got me thinking about other things we use in theatre that may contain blood,” said Ms Jones.

“By monitoring what’s used in surgery for particular patients, teams are addressing any concerns patients have efficiently and with care”

Lisa Salter

“So, I did a bit of research and found there are materials like glues and sealants which contain plasma derivatives,” she said.

“In some cases, we are already using synthetic alternatives, so it’s easy to consider these when it comes to options for patients and respecting their wishes,” said Ms Jones.

According to the trust, Ms Jones has created instructions for staff to follow which highlights components in surgical materials, so patients can know exactly what’s being used during their procedure.

As part of the new project the trust worked closely with the Hospital Liaison Committee for Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Chair of the committee, Tom Gregory, said: “As a community, we appreciate high quality surgical and medical care.

“Consequently, we are very happy to be cared for by The Walton Centre,” he said.

“This will ensure that the individual patient’s choices are respected with regards to plasma derivatives, and the tissue sealants that are often required during surgery,” he added.

Mr Gregory said the community are very grateful for the lengths the trust has gone to, to care for them in accordance with their beliefs.

Also commenting on the project, the Walton Centre’s director of nursing and governance, Lisa Salter, said: “Bev has put the patient right at the heart of the project and it shows,” she said.

“By monitoring what’s used in surgery for particular patients, teams are addressing any concerns patients have efficiently and with care,” she said.

The majority of patients at the trust come from Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales, Lancashire and the Isle of Man, however, for some specialist treatments of complex disorders it sees patients from all parts of the country.

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