The Think Drink Project Group is a multidisciplinary patient safety group with expert clinical knowledge in nursing, dietetics, anaesthesia and pre-assessment. Excessive fasting before an operation is not pleasant or beneficial for patients and can prolong their recovery after surgery by increasing nausea and pain. We looked at ways of minimising fasting times for our pre-operative patients.
Patients waiting for surgery can be reluctant to drink. However, those with a clear two hour window before anaesthesia may be given an approved drink. To reduce patient’s length of time without a drink before theatre we developed the ‘Think Drink’ moment: the theatre team assess which patients can continue to drink while waiting for their operation and communicate with ward staff to ensure the patients know their allowance and that appropriate drinks are provided.
The ‘Think Drink’ initiative began in the Burns & Plastic operating theatre but then quickly widened to incorporate all elective, emergency and paediatric pathways at City hospital and QMC. At one site it was decided that emergency patients could have a light breakfast Monday to Thursday and fluids until 10.00am as the emergency theatre didn’t start until 12.30pm. We now collect fluid fasting times through a computerised system to chart the progress of Think Drink.