Factors influencing patients consenting to major surgery at Chikankata mission, Kamoto mission, Kitwe central and Livingstone General Hospitals
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Informed consent is essential for all surgical procedures whether they be major or minor surgery. It indicates that a patient has permitted the surgical team to conduct an operation on him or her. Few studies have been done on informed consent in clinical practice. This study determined the factors influencing patients consenting to major surgery. The study was conducted at Chikankata Mission, Kamoto Mission, Kitwe Central and Livingstone General Hospital among patients who had undergone major surgery.The study was a descriptive non-interventional study conducted among patients who were admitted and those coming for reviews. Information was collected from a sample of 200 clients using convenience sampling method and these clients had undergone surgery in the past three months of data collection. Structured pretested interviewer-questionnaires were used. Data were analysed using Statistical Package for Social Scientists (SPSS).The study revealed low levels of education for the majority of respondents. More female respondents (73%) had adequate knowledge of informed consent than males (27%) and the higher the level of education the more knowledge somebody had on informed consent. It also revealed that majority of the respondents were not given time to ask and answer questions. The study showed that patients who were respected and shown concern by the health workers had adequate knowledge on informed consent than those who were not respected or shown concern by the health workers.The study demonstrated the need to incorporate information about informedconsent during routine information, education and counselling of patients at different entry points to surgery. By so doing, patients who are scheduled for surgery will not have problems understanding the pre-operation counselling. Having observed that majority of the respondents in this research were females, there is need to encourage males to improve their involvement in health care utilization. Time appeared to be one of the limiting factors to patients' understanding of informed consent. Health workers had little time for one-on-one counselling with patients before surgery. There is need to improve the health worker - patient ratio by employing more health workers.
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