, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 42-48
Date: 01 Jan 2006

A Preadmission Telephone Call to Initiate the Consent Process for Clinical Anesthesia Research

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Consent for a clinical anesthesia research trial is frequently sought in hospital on the day of surgery. This time is often associated with increased anxiety, diminished privacy, and limited opportunity for reflection. Our objective was to determine whether a preadmission telephone call on the day before surgery resulted in greater satisfaction compared to the traditional practice of initiating the consent process on the day of surgery. We randomized 124 patients eligible for participation in a minimal-risk clinical anesthesia trial to receive either a preadmission telephone call on the day before surgery to initiate consent (Telephone group; n = 62), or no telephone call (Control group; n = 62). In the Telephone group, 21 patients (33.9%) were successfully contacted by telephone, whereas 41 patients (66.1%) were not contacted. Both the Telephone and Control groups reported similar understanding regarding the purpose of the trial. Both groups similarly agreed that the time and setting of recruitment and consent were appropriate. Patients in both groups reported having enough time to consider their participation in the trial. Few patients in either group reported feeling anxious at the time of consent or pressured to participate in the trial. Finally, patients in both groups were equally satisfied with the consent process. Implications: A preadmission telephone call on the day before surgery to initiate the consent process for a minimal-risk clinical anesthesia research trial does not improve satisfaction among consenting patients compared to initiating consent in hospital on the day of surgery, and can be an impractical method to initiate the consent process.