Patients in Germany can opt to put on a headset complete with audiovisual glasses and look on the bright side of life while watching the Life of Brian as doctors open them up.
The scheme to help patients avoid anxiety by watching a film is taking place at the Vivantes-Auguste-Viktoria-Klinikum hospital located in the Schoeneberg district in the German capital Berlin.
In a press statement, the hospital said that the distraction of a film “can reduce stress and anxiety during an operation” which is especially important at a time when local anaesthesia, where patients remain awake, is being pushed over general anaesthesia due to the coronavirus pandemic.
‘Monty Python’s Life of Brian’ (1979) is reportedly a “big hit” along with ‘Sissi’, a 1955 Austrian film directed by Ernst Marischka and starring Romy Schneider as the Austrian Empress.
Newsflash contacted the hospital for comment, and press officer Mischa Moriceau said that patients “also liked to watch ‘Mr Bean’, ‘Bridget Jones’ Diary’, and nature documentaries”.
The hospital said the reason for the move was clear: “Regional anaesthesia is gentler on the body than general anaesthesia and also safer for the operating room team in the age of coronavirus, because fewer aerosols are formed and these are therefore recommended by various medical associations.
“Due to relaxed Covid 19 restrictions, planned operations are currently being resumed.”
The hospital refers readers to a recent scientific article called “Coronavirus (COVID-19): Regional anaesthesia to reduce medication consumption in anaesthesia and to avoid aerosol formation” which appeared in a Special Collections part of the Cochrane Library online (https://bit.ly/30yHZhG).
The Cochrane Library “is a collection of databases that contain different types of high-quality, independent evidence to inform healthcare decision-making”.
Professor Christoph Raspe, 42, chief physician in the department of Anaesthesia, Intensive Care Medicine and Pain Therapy at Vivantes Auguste-Viktoria, reported positively on his first experiences, saying: “We have already used the glasses for orthopaedic and urological procedures. The patients find the new video glasses great and are absolutely thrilled. Because during the spinal anaesthesia, they are awake and can choose from various videos that usually distract them visually and auditorily from the operation.”
The hospital says that “scary impressions of the surgery take a back seat and the brain deals with the positive impressions.
“The video glasses with integrated headphones can also reduce nervousness and fear before the operation and afterwards in the recovery room. With a remote control, patients can choose between about 100 films, nature documentaries or concerts.”
Dr Heiko Spank, 53, chief physician in the Department of Special Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery, said: “We do everything we can to offer our patients the most comfortable and the safest atmosphere possible.”
He added that “regional anaesthesia” is “gentler on the circulation and people who have been operated on usually get back on their feet faster.
“Our patients now have the opportunity to use the video glasses to see nothing of the actual operation, even though they are awake – to visit great landscapes or something similarly relaxing in the film. The effect on the satisfaction levels of people who have been operated on is impressive.”
The chief physician of the Vivantes Breast Centre, Dr Marion Paul, says: “The day before the operation, we ask the patients whether they want to use the glasses and let them try them on so that everything goes well on the day of the operation. Most use the glasses in the OR waiting area and during the procedure. Another good thing about the glasses from the point of view of us surgeons is that the patients still notice when we speak to them.”
The hospital says that “the system is completely disinfectable and the earpieces are interchangeable so that hygiene rules can be observed.”
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