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New project to give ice lollies to post-op paediatric patients has potential to aid recovery and wellbeing

A new project implemented by colleagues in tower theatres will see age-appropriate patients being given an ice lolly following operations. Christian Valenzuela, Team Lead for Ears, Nose, Throat and Maxillofacial Operating Theatres at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, and Dr Libby Fontaine, Anesthetic Registrar, explain why.
“Last year, we started giving out ice lollies to children who had undergone anaesthetics and surgery,” explains Christian. “After an operation or procedure, children might feel a little sore or sick, and can be reluctant to drink. This can increase the amount of time it takes to recover or go home. Research shows that using ice lollies in recovery can improve pain scores, reduce nausea and vomiting, and reduce requirement for opiate analgesia. We hope that these benefits assist with a more rapid recovery, and expediate a successful discharge if the child is a day case. We also hope that it improves the overall experience of having an operation for our younger patients.”

Christian continues: “The whole idea was generally initiated by Dr Tom Bevir, Lead Consultant for Paediatric Anaesthesia. Also, massive thanks to charitable funding from Anaesthetic, Critical Care and Theatres Care Group (ACCT) lead by Doug Riley, the RCHT General Fund spearheaded by Karen Murrish and Tanya Allan, Recovery Service Manager, the team has been able to successfully procure a freezer as well as a supply of ice lollies, both in flavoured and hypo allergenic options. Because of this, we are now able to offer ice lollies to all post op paediatric patients, which means we have a greater opportunity to improve pain and nausea, to expedite eating and drinking and a successful discharge home. We know this practice is supported by good quality randomised controlled trials as well as anecdotal evidence from other hospitals.”

“The freezer is currently kept in the staff room at the Royal Cornwall Hospital’s Tower Theatres,” continues Christian. “To ensure patient safety in terms of dietary requirements and allergies, the team had also sourced Organic Rainbow Fruity Ice lollies with Cheeky Vegetable flavour from Pip.”

“It was really important to us to be able to include every child in the project, even if they were diabetic or had food allergies,” explains Libby. “We can offer an ice-lolly in recovery to any age-appropriate patient that is able to sit up and drink after their operation or procedure, so we ask that surgeons and anaesthetists liaise with parents and each other to include it as part of the postoperative plan.”

“Children have really responded well to the project so far,” Libby continues. “Our recovery nurses report a huge effect on the psychological impact of being in recovery. The nursing staff love them, and so do the patients. We have been really excited to work together as a team on this project in theatres. It shows how the simplest ideas really can make a significant impact on both patient experience and outcomes. We are extremely grateful for the support from both Karen Murrish and Doug Riley, which made the project possible.”

Added on 27 May 2022, in News - General News

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