Satisfying patients' needs for surgical information

Br J Surg. 1990 Apr;77(4):463-5. doi: 10.1002/bjs.1800770431.


Patients facing operation need good information. This is implicit in informed consent but it is often lacking. A solution is a comprehensive set of leaflets covering 65 different general surgical operations. The leaflets describe the illness, operation, exact management regimen, some complications and outlook, in a deliberately simple style. Master copies are stored on a wordprocessor to allow unlimited expansion and updating. A retrospective survey of 200 patients showed that those receiving leaflets were significantly more satisfied with information (72 per cent overall) than those not receiving leaflets (42 per cent overall) (P less than 0.01). This was especially apparent for information about postoperative progress, both in hospital (92 per cent versus 52 per cent) and after discharge from hospital (88 per cent versus 39 per cent). The system is effective, cheap and popular with patients and medical and nursing staff. The wordprocessor allows extensive modifications of the information to suit other surgeons' requirements.

MeSH terms

  • Comprehension*
  • Consent Forms*
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Disclosure
  • Female
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Informatics
  • Microcomputers
  • Middle Aged
  • Pamphlets
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative*
  • Teaching Materials