Nervous eye patients get reassuring hand to hold

Wednesday 20th February 2019

Nervous eye patients get reassuring hand to hold

A fear-busting scheme to help patients who are nervous about having eye operations has been launched at Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead.

Most cataract operations are carried out under a local anaesthetic, which means only the eye is made numb and the patient stays awake.

People who are apprehensive about having this type of surgery are now being offered a comforting hand to hold while their operation is taking place.

Research has indicated having the reassurance of someone to talk to during the operation has the potential for reducing anxiety in many patients having cataract surgery under local anaesthesia.

The role is being fulfilled by one of the volunteer team at QVH, who stays with the patient before, during and after their procedure.

QVH hand holding volunteer Liz Colenutt said: “Most patients I met accepted my offer of hand holding and one even told me afterwards he’d never held a hand other than his wife’s. I thoroughly enjoyed helping patients in theatre; it’s great to feel you’re making a difference for people.”

Jo Thomas, Director of Nursing and Quality, Queen Victoria Hospital, said: “We know some people feel vulnerable and frightened when they’re about to go into surgery and we also know patients having a companion to talk to during these operations has the potential to significantly reduce the levels of anxiety they feel while they’re in theatre. We’ve already had some great feedback from patients about the value of having someone with them to hold their hand and reassure them.”

Anyone interested in this or other volunteering opportunities at Queen Victoria Hospital should contact Camilla Slattery, Head of Fundraising and Voluntary Services:

Pictured: Liz Colenutt, volunteer, Queen Victoria Hospital, with a cataract patient and other members of the medical team.

For more information please contact the QVH Press Office on 01342 414508.