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Introduction of a mandatory pre-block safety checklist into a regional anaesthesia block room service: a quality improvement project

Department of Anaesthesia and Perioperative Medicine, Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital and Statistics Unit, Queensland Institute of Medical Research Berghofer, Brisbane, Queensland

Summary

Wrong-side block is an uncommon yet potentially preventable complication of regional anaesthesia. One strategy for reducing the incidence of wrong-side block is to introduce an additional check into the pre-block workflow in the form of a block ‘time out’ or ‘stop before you block’. In the aftermath of a wrong-side block incident at our institution, the mandatory use of a pre-block safety checklist was successfully introduced into the workflow of the block room. Compliance with the checklist rose from 31% in the six-month pre-intervention phase to over 90% in the six-month post-intervention phase. This was achieved without any negative effect on block efficacy, theatre efficiency, complication rates or patient satisfaction. The high rate of checklist utilisation was associated with an increased rate of ultrasound video documentation. This suggests that there may be collateral benefit to using a pre-block safety checklist in addition to merely reducing the risk of wrong-side block.

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