Reducing the Surgical Patient’s Family Member’s Anxiety Using an Electronic Patient Tracking Board
Family members of surgical patients experience anxiety due to lack of consistent communication during the surgical process. Attending to the needs of the surgical patient’s family members is an important factor easily forgotten in a busy clinical arena. The purpose of this project was to decrease the surgical patient’s family member’s anxiety by providing family members with timely and consistent information regarding the patient’s progress through surgery. The theoretical foundation used was general systems theory showing that a change in one part of a system leads to change in the whole system with the use of improved communication and feedback. The key question asked was whether an electronic information system could provide additional information in conjunction with personal interaction to reduce the family member’s anxiety. The project design was a prospective, randomized, posttest design in a single-center study using the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory Survey for Adults (STAI). The sample size was 80 surgical patients’ family members. Results using the Wilcoxon-Rank-Sum test indicated that the addition of an electronic information display was unable to reduce STAI scores. The medians for the State portion of the survey were .823 across all categories for both the control and intervention groups. The medians for the Trait portion of the survey for both the control and intervention groups were .118 with p >05. Although the data suggests retaining the null hypothesis, a significant social change was the staff’s heightened awareness of the surgical patient’s family’s vulnerability and the need for communication during the perioperative phase.