|Year : 2014 | Volume
| Issue : 3 | Page : 456-459
A survey on public awareness about the role of anesthesiologists
Curpod Girivas Srinivas Prasad1, Govindswamy Suresh2
1 Associate Professor, ESIC Medical College PGIMSR, Rajajinagar, Bangalore, Karnataka, India
2 Junior Resident in Anaesthesia, ESIC Medical College PGIMSR, Rajajinagar, Bangalore, Karnataka, India
|Date of Submission||24-Oct-2013|
|Date of Acceptance||05-Aug-2014|
|Date of Web Publication||27-Aug-2014|
Curpod Girivas Srinivas Prasad
#131, 4th Main Road, Ganganagar, Bangalore 560 032, Karnataka
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
Anesthesiologist plays a crucial role in perioperative, intensive care, and pain clinic, but the public awareness about the speciality is limited.
The present study was conducted to assess the public knowledge about the role of anesthesiologist and to educate the public.
Settings and design
The study was designed as a cross-sectional observational study.
Patients and methods
The study was conducted by Department of Anesthesia at the Health Mela organized by ESIC PGIMSR (Employers State Insurance Co-operation Medical College and Post Graduate Institute Of Medical Science and Research) at Kassia Bhavan, Vijayanagar, Bangalore. A questionnaire containing 10 questions was distributed among the public in both English and Kannada. A total of 200 individuals responded for the questionnaire; 65% responded in English and 35% in Kannada. Their responses were recorded as Yes/No. The results are expressed as percentage.
In all, 82% knew about anesthesia; 75% knew that anesthesiologists are doctors; 74% knew that anesthesia is safe; 73% knew that different anesthesias are required for different surgeries; 77% knew that informed consent is required for surgery; 69% knew that all types of pain are managed by anesthesiologist; 72.5% knew that labor can be painless with labor analgesia; 73% preferred labor analgesia; 81% knew that preoperatively they need to follow anesthesiologist orders; and 92% were benefited from visiting the anesthesia stall.
Majority of the public who attended the mela knew the role of anesthesiologists, but still further education is required to create awareness on anesthesia speciality. This can be achieved by conducting health melas, camps, and also through audiovisual and print media.
Keywords: anesthesia, anesthesiologist, awareness, public
|How to cite this article:|
Prasad CS, Suresh G. A survey on public awareness about the role of anesthesiologists. Ain-Shams J Anaesthesiol 2014;7:456-9
| Introduction|| |
The field of anesthesia has evolved leaps and bounds over the past few decades. Anesthesiologists play a crucial role in perioperative, intensive care, and pain management. Anesthesiologists do not receive their due regards that they deserve in the eyes of the public. The knowledge of the role of anesthesiologist and the anesthesia speciality among the public is limited. Public awareness programmes are being arranged in developed countries to spread the awareness on the speciality [1,2]. October 16th every year is celebrated as Anesthesia Day worldwide. However, with all this, awareness among public is poor [3-5]. It is necessary for all of us to spread the awareness of the speciality by using new methods of public education. The present study was conducted to assess the public knowledge about the role of anesthesiologist and to educate the public.
| Patients and methods|| |
A cross-sectional observational study was conducted by Department of Anesthesia at the Health Mela organized by ESIC PGIMSR at Kassia Bhavan, Vijayanagar, Bangalore on 13 November 2011 after obtaining institutional ethic committee permission. Health mela was conducted to provide free medical service to the public. About 600 people attended the mela. Majority of the public were ESI beneficiaries working in small-scale industries, having educational background above 10th standard. The anesthesia stall contained charts, audiovisual aids, and manikins to educate the public. The study was conducted in two parts. First part included a questionnaire (Appendix 1) [Additional file 1] containing 10 questions prepared both in English and in local language Kannada. It was distributed to the public who visited the anesthesia stall, to know their knowledge about the speciality. Their responses were recorded as Yes/No. The results are expressed as percentage. Later, they were educated about the speciality in general and about the role of anesthesiologist in particular. Basic life support training was provided to public using manikins.
| Results|| |
A total of 600 people attended the mela, of which 250 people visited the anesthesia stall (41.6%) [Figure 1]. In all, 220 responded to the questionnaire (88%); 20 were incomplete. Hence, 200 people who answered all the 10 questions were included in the study. In all, 120 were male individuals and 80 were female individuals (3 : 2); 130 people answered in English and 70 answered in Kannada. Individuals who answered all 10 questions were included in the study. A total of 82% participants knew about anesthesia, whereas 18% did not have any idea what anesthesia is; 75% knew that anesthesiologists are qualified doctors, whereas 25% were unaware that anesthesiologists are qualified doctors. In all, 74% knew that anesthesia is safe, whereas 26% still had lot of apprehension regarding the safety of anesthesia; 73% knew that different anesthesias are required for different surgeries, whereas 27% did not know that different anesthesia techniques are available for different procedures. A total of 77% participants knew that informed consent is required for anesthesia and surgery, whereas 23% were not even aware of informed consent; 69% knew that all types of pain are managed by anesthesiologist, whereas 31% did not know that pain was managed by anesthesiologist. In all, 72.5% knew that labor can be painless with labor analgesia, whereas 27.5% did not have any idea about labor analgesia; 73% preferred labor analgesia, whereas 27% preferred the conventional painful labor; 81% knew that preoperatively they need to follow anesthesiologist orders, whereas 19% were unaware of preoperative anesthesia orders. A total of 92% participants were benefited from visiting anesthesia stall, whereas 8% responded negatively to the question [Figure 2].
| Discussion|| |
This survey was carried out to know the public perception about the role of anesthesiologist and also to educate the public about the speciality. Of the total 600 people, only 250 (41.6%) people visited the stall, whereas people visiting other medical stalls were apparently more in number [Figure 1]. There are no clear-cut data regarding the visit of the public to anesthesia stalls in health melas.
In our study, 82% knew about anesthesia; in the UK, a study by Swinehoe and colleagues showed that 80% of the patients knew about anesthesia, whereas in Egypt the awareness was about 60.6% [6,7]. Our study results are similar to that of the UK because majority of the study population were industrial workers. The results may be much lesser in general population.
Regarding the knowledge of public about anesthesiologists as qualified doctors, many previous studies have shown that the public have little knowledge of anesthesia and anesthesiologists are not even considered as doctors, and particularly they do not know the term anesthesiologist unlike other specialities such as surgeons and physicians. Our study showed that 75% knew anesthesiologists as qualified doctors, whereas in other studies it was around 30-35% [2, 4, 6], and it was 82% in a study by Ahsan-ul-Haq et al. in Pakistan; this group was exposed to similar studies in the past. The varying percentages may be due to differences in the study size, literacy, and previous exposures to similar studies.
Fear of safety about anesthesia, surgery, and postoperative pain is well known in surgical patients. In a study conducted in Singapore, patient's fear about surgery was that he might not come out of anesthesia . A study by Ahsan-ul-Haq and colleagues in Pakistan showed that 60% were afraid of anesthesia. Our survey showed that 76% felt anesthesia as safe. Further study is needed to evaluate the patient awareness about safety of anesthesia practice.
The choice of anesthesia technique for different surgical procedures differs between countries, cultures, personal choice of anesthesiologist, and patients. Our study showed that 73% knew about the use of different techniques for different procedures. In a study conducted in Pakistan, 82.4% were aware of the existence of different techniques, and 48% preferred general anesthesia, 33% preferred regional, and 18% were not sure what to choose for cesarean surgery . In this survey, 69% women were graduates and most of them had previous experience with anesthesia. A study by Ahsan-ul-Haq et al.  showed that 60% preferred general anesthesia compared with spinal anesthesia when given a choice. These results are much higher compared with previous works conducted in developing countries [11,12].
Informed consent is a vital document and a medicolegal binding between patient and doctor. Singh et al. in a study on 'Rural perspective about anaesthesia and anaesthesiologists' found that 16.4% did not either sign it or remember signing it, which underlines a major failure of perioperative management. For majority of patients, it was a paper signed by them, which was a formality. Our study showed that 77% were aware about the requirement of informed consent for all procedures. Naithaniet al.  in a study conducted in tertiary care hospital found that 34.67% knew about the consent and the information provided in the consent form, but only 15.33% had knowledge about anesthesia risk. The validation of consent seems to be a universal problem as Brezis et al.  also reported that more than 50% of patients did not remember any information related to consent.
Pain is most feared entity in surgical patients, but the public knowledge about the role of anesthesiologist in pain management and painless delivery is limited. In a study conducted by Ahsan-ul-Haq et al. , 34% knew that pain clinics were managed by anesthesiologist. In Egypt, 4.3% knew about pain clinic and 11.4% were aware of painless delivery, whereas 77.14% were not aware of these roles of anesthesiologist . Naithani et al.  showed that 4.6% knew about pain clinic and 12.67% knew about painless labor. Our study showed that 69% knew about management of pain by anesthesiologist; 72.5% knew about labor analgesia; and 73% preferred painless delivery. Higher percentage of results in our study is because of the limitation of the study to ESI beneficiaries.
Preoperative instructions are given to prepare the patient for surgery, but there are limited studies regarding them. In our study, 81% of the patients knew that preoperative orders have to be followed. In many places, it is the nursing staff who sees that the orders are followed rather than patient knowledge about them. Awareness about it will reduce the apprehension and bring better doctor, nurse, and patient co-operation [15,16].
In our study, 92% of the public were benefited by visiting the anesthesia stall at the mela. This result shows that, irrespective of the level of education or knowledge, there is a great desire among public to know about anesthesia and anesthesiologist. Similar results are found in studies conducted all over the world [17,18].
| Conclusion|| |
Majority of the public who attended the mela knew the role of anesthesiologists, but various available data suggest that speciality of anesthesia have not done much to educate the public. The onus of spreading awareness lies with the anesthesiologist, and he should take active part in it. Informed consent being a valid document, anesthesiologist should take consent from the patient after verbally explaining all advantages and disadvantages. This will be a further step to create good patient-doctor relationship and to reduce litigation problems. There is a dire need to run the awareness programmes by interacting with patients during preoperative and postoperative visits, conducting health melas and free medical camps, and through broader avenues such as advertisements in print and visual media.
| Acknowledgements|| |
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[Figure 1], [Figure 2]