Trust starts giving surgical patients ice lollies to slake thirst

It said clinicians came up with the idea after being concerned by the results of a national survey, which showed feeling thirsty was a top concern for patients while recovering from major surgery.

“These are simple things that represent a great team effort”

Sarah Hewson

The survey of 15,040 patients, which was part of a study published in the British Journal of Anaesthesia, included 257 hospitals in 171 trusts participated.

It found 35% of patients reported severe discomfort in at least one area, with thirst (18.5%), surgical pain (11%) and drowsiness (10.1%) being the most common highlighted.

The new lollipops are known around the trust as Pompops in honour of the perioperative medicine (POM) team that came up with the idea, namely sister Sarah Hewson, Dr Seliat Sanusi and Professor David Walker.

The lollipops, introduced three weeks ago, mark the first stage in a new initiative aimed at making in-patient comfort a real priority, according to University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Ms Hewson said: “These are simple things that represent a great team effort. We really hope it will make a difference to our patients.

“After all, what better way to celebrate the arrival of summer than with a Pompop?”

The lollies are the initial offering of new “comfort rounds” and are intended to give a refreshing lift to those patients without appetite but who are thirsty.

In addition to the traditional intensive care unit ward rounds taking place daily, nurses and doctors at Westmoreland Street Hospital will round together and explore what matters to patients.

This includes attempting to reduce anxiety, and pain, improve sleep and consider changes to the ward environment and the daily routine, said the trust.

Professor Walker said: “There are aspects of our job we could do better and learning from the work of an air-hostess preparing a traveller for an overnight transatlantic flight might be a good analogy.

“Fed, watered, bed-comfortable, lights down, ear plugs in and eye-shields on, good book and the occasional glass of something medicinal might be all that is needed to improve the patient journey.

“We may think we do that already, but it’s amazing what you find out when you really ask the patient,” he added.