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Comic can help prepare patients better for surgery
Millions of patients are operated on in German hospitals every year. Before the operation, they must be fully informed about the planned intervention. A comic can help, as German researchers now report. The picture story increases understanding and reduces the patient's feeling of fear.
Rather overwhelmed than well informed
Every year millions of people are operated on in hospitals in Germany. Before the intervention, they must be fully informed about the planned operation. However, many patients do not understand their doctor because of the technical Chinese, or they feel overwhelmed rather than well informed due to the complexity of the content. Researchers have now been able to show that a comic can help here. The picture story increases understanding and reduces patient fear.
Fear of surgery
It's not uncommon for people to react anxiously when medical treatment is due.
Both children and adults can experience physical symptoms such as trembling hands and legs, nausea, sweating, rapid heartbeat or a panic attack.
Pending operations in particular unsettle many patients. In an ideal case, the fear can be alleviated by an informative discussion before the procedure. In some cases, a comic can help.
Pictorial representation should help with the clarification
As explained in a statement by the Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, medical information is intended to support patients in making a self-determined decision for or against treatment.
It explains to them exactly how the procedure works. Medical benefits and potential risks are also discussed.
In people with coronary artery disease, for example, it has been shown that, despite information, they are often unable to fully grasp the basic principle of an upcoming cardiac catheter examination and thus misjudge the benefits of this measure.
"According to the principle 'A picture says more than a thousand words', we wanted to make it easier for these patients to understand the information provided by means of a graphic representation," said Prof. Dr. Verena Stangl from the medical clinic with a focus on cardiology and angiology at the Charité Mitte campus.
Together with colleague Dr. Anna Brand led the study, which was recently published in the journal "Annals of Internal Medicine".
The most common intervention in cardiology
The two doctors developed a 15-page comic that illustrates the most common intervention in cardiology: the cardiac catheter examination and, if necessary, subsequent implantation of a stent.
"As we were able to show in our pilot study, this comic is actually suitable for preparing those affected better for the procedure," said Prof. Stangl.
The team around the two cardiologists had informed a total of 121 patients before the cardiac catheter examination either as usual in a medical consultation using the official information sheet or subsequently provided them with the comic.
Using various questionnaires before and after the interview, the researchers evaluated how well those affected understood the intervention, how strong their fear was, and whether they were satisfied with the clarification.
Capture complex content better
The comic proved to be helpful in all areas: Patients who also received the illustrated brochure were able to correctly answer an average of almost twelve out of 13 questions about the procedure, the risks and important rules of conduct after the procedure.
According to classic clarification, the value was only around nine out of 13 questions. In addition, the respondents stated that after reading the comic, they were less worried than before the educational interview.
According to the information, around 72 percent of the participants were satisfied with the comic education and felt well prepared for the cardiac catheterization - according to the standard education, it was only 41 percent.
"A comic enables complex content to be captured both textually and visually, and this has been shown to improve understanding among the different types of learning," says Dr. Fire.
"In addition, a comic - unlike a video - leaves the reader as much time to grasp the content as is individually necessary," she added.
“Our study has now been able to demonstrate for the first time that medical comics are very effective as supplementary educational material. In the future, we want to investigate whether these positive effects can also be transferred to other medical interventions. ”(Ad)