(HealthDay News) — Pediatricians have an important part in preparing surgical patients and their families for procedures, according to a policy statement published online August 25 in Pediatrics.

Kenneth R. Goldschneider, MD, from the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Section on Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, and colleagues discuss the role primary care providers play in the preparation of children and their families before a procedure requiring anesthesia or sedation.

The researchers note that one primary step in preoperative preparation is to determine whether the child is in the best possible health given the underlying medical condition. In addition, the family of the patient should be educated about the process of going into the operating room. Preoperative preparation is multifaceted, with different options available at different institutions. Some hospitals allow parental presence during induction of anesthesia. Preoperative sedation is recommended for some patients, including those at higher risk of being stressed or uncooperative. The authors write that pediatricians should be aware of anesthesia-related hospital policies at operative facilities. Primary health care providers should consider special issues relating to coexisting health problems, including cardiac disease, airway anomalies, former preterm infants, and developmental delay/autism. Furthermore, religious considerations should be taken into account and pediatricians should counsel families to discuss options with the anesthesia team.

“Pediatricians are in a unique position to help prepare children and their families for surgery and help the perioperative team optimize care,” the authors write.

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