AD.6 Anesthesia Awareness

The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines surrounding the phenomenon of anesthesia awareness.
The organization employs the following strategies to help identify patients at risk, reduce the risk, and respond to an incidence of anesthesia awareness should it occur:

Assessing the patient

-Clinical staff, including sedating physicians, and anesthesia providers will inquire and document previous negative experiences during anesthesia 

Reduce the risk 

-Use amnesic medications in combination with other anesthetics.

-Administering more than a 'sleep dose' of medication before endotracheal intubation. 

-Avoiding muscle paralysis unless absolutely necessary.

-Conduct regular maintenance of the anesthesia machine and its vaporizer and carefully checking the machine and  its ventilator before administering anesthesia.

React to a Patient's Awareness

-Clinical personnel need to be alert and responsive to a patient's complaints regarding anesthesia consistent with anesthesia  awareness.  Patients may be able to repeat conversations in the operating room, or discuss noises/sounds, even smells  within the operating room.

-All complaints regarding anesthesia awareness need to be addressed, especially pain during anesthesia and/or feeling as  though they can not breathe. The patient will need to have this experience recognized, empathized, discussed  and documented by the clinical staff. Patients may require support/counseling in follow up. In fact, post traumatic shock  syndrome has been noted in some patients experiencing anesthesia awareness. 

-Additionally the patient needs to understand that going forward; this is a very important health factor to include on all  health care history information. 

Gupta Gastro
Control #333.0
Approved By Governing Board