Archive November 2018 XIX, No. 11

Ideas That Work: Anxiety Scale

Are Your Patients Feelingor?

Kaiser Permanente Ambulatory Surgery Centers
CHECKING IN Coleen Berens, RN, explains the anxiety chart to a patient at the Kaiser Permanente Lone Tree Medical Offices in Lone Tree, Colo.

You ask patients about their pain levels. You ask them for intimate details about their health history. And yet you might not ask them the most basic of questions: How anxious are you right now? After one of our cataract patients complained that we didn’t do enough to calm her nerves before surgery, we came up with the patient anxiety scale, which lets patients communicate their stress level by pointing to the emoji and phrase that best represents how they’re feeling. It’s an icebreaker that gets patients talking about their feelings and their feedback lets us tailor our soothing approach.

Patients who score 6 or higher receive extra attention and comforting measures. Staff also right-size the dose of the relaxant Halcion to the patient’s self-reported anxiety level. We now have a method to measure and document patients’ anxiety levels and the response from patients has been tremendous. They appreciate that we’re asking them how they feel and taking the time to make them less anxious.

Liz Reimann, RN, BSN
Lynnette Oser, RN, CNOR, MHA

Kaiser Permanente Ambulatory Surgery Centers
Franklin, Colo.

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