Leaflets have been specifically prepared for children and young people of different ages. They have been written by a team of parents, play specialists and doctors, with advice from hundreds of young people aged 4 years and upwards. ‘Anaesthesia information for children and young people’ is a project of the Association of Paediatric Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland and the Royal College of Anaesthetists.
A new, online Beano comic strip developed in partnership with the Royal College of Anaesthetists and the Association of Paediatric Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland will help children who need to have an operation understand what it’s like to have a general anaesthetic and help reduce their anxiety about surgery.
Dennis has an anaesthetic takes children aged 7-11 on a fun-filled journey with Dennis as he prepares to have his tonsils removed, from diagnosis to discharge from hospital. Although Dennis approaches his operation with his usual sense of bravado, he also has lots of questions and feels a bit nervous!
By accompanying Dennis on this journey, children will have their own questions answered, including:
Around 500,000 children in the UK have a general anaesthetic each year and three-quarters of them experience some anxiety about it. As well as enabling children to feel safe and reassured, alleviating anxiety can also have clinical benefits, including helping to reduce any side effects of the anaesthetic and improving recovery times.
Dennis has an anaesthetic will also help children and their parents/carers understand what happens in the run-up to an operation, the care children will need afterwards and how they can best prepare and make informed decisions throughout. This approach to treatment is known as perioperative care, and as Dennis finds out, there are practical things that parents/carers can do to help their children prepare for an operation, such as eating a balanced diet and getting plenty of sleep and exercise.
All children who are due to have a general anaesthetic will benefit from reading the comic strip, even if they are not outwardly demonstrating anxiety. As well as being a fun and playful way to help children understand more about their operation and how to prepare for it, Dennis has an anaesthetic includes familiar characters, games and links to other resources.