Daily variability in volume of elective pediatric procedures that require anesthesia may lead to an imbalance between available operating room resources and case load. Longer intervals between scheduling and the surgical date generally result in higher operating room utilization. In this study, we sought to determine which factors influence when parents schedule their children for procedures. We also aimed to identify parents' ideal and longest acceptable waiting intervals and determine whether type of procedure, for example, affects scheduling. From a convenience sample of 250 randomly selected parents of children presenting for elective surgery, 236 completed surveys were analyzed. The remaining 14 surveys were not returned. Overall, parents scheduled their child's procedure a median of 4.3 wk (interquartile range 2.0-8.6) in advance and reported an ideal waiting interval of 3 wk (interquartile range 2-4), and longest acceptable interval of 6 wk (interquartile range 4-10). Parents were willing to wait longer to schedule cardiac (4 wk, P = 0.004) and plastic (3.5 wk, P = 0.024) surgery when compared with general surgical procedures. Overall, parents ranked severity of the child's illness, earliest available time, and surgeon's suggested date as the three most important factors influencing when their child's surgery is scheduled. The timetable for scheduling procedures was highly correlated with both mother and father having available time off work (tau(b) = 0.72, P < 0.0001). Surprisingly, parents did not show a preference for scheduling cases during vacation or summer months.
View details for DOI 10.1213/01.ane.0000244596.03605.3e
View details for Web of Science ID 000242289100019
View details for PubMedID 17122217