Educating Anesthesia Providers to Implement Postoperative Nausea and Vomiting Risk Assessment as a Standard of Care
The prevention of postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV) is a challenging task that must be addressed both to decrease patient dissatisfaction and postsurgical complications. PONV is a distressing and costly side effect of general anesthesia, leading to a prolonged post anesthesia care unit (PACU) stay and unplanned hospital admissions. The causes of PONV are multifactorial and can largely be categorized as patient risk factors, anesthetic technique, and surgical procedure. In high risk individuals, the incidence of PONV can be as high as 80%. Therefore, effective strategies in identifying risk factors and providing prophylaxis to patients can lead to higher patient satisfaction and better utilization of healthcare dollars. An extensive body of research exists on the causes, prediction, prevention, and treatment of PONV, which has resulted in the development of risk scores, guidelines, and evidence-based treatment protocols. Unfortunately, limited knowledge of the guidelines and low adherence to them are a well-known problem. The omission of properly identifying patients’ risk factors during the preoperative interview allows for inadequate coverage of PONV. The purpose of this evidence-based practice (EBP) change project was to use educational interventions to assist anesthesia providers with identifying PONV risk factors utilizing the Apfel assessment tool.