Background: With the adoption of enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) programs, patients are being discharged earlier and require more post-discharge teaching, educational materials, and information.
Objective: The purpose of this study is to assess satisfaction, discharge needs, and follow-up concerns of patients within an ERAS implementation program (iERAS).
Methods: Between 2012 and 2015, the iERAS program was undertaken at an academic hospital where 554 patients having elective colorectal surgery were enrolled. After discharge, patients were sent a survey containing multiple choice questions, preference ranking, and open-ended questions. Free-text responses were analyzed through a thematic approach.
Results: Overall, 496 patients were mailed surveys and 219 (44.2%) completed the survey. Ninety-three percent were satisfied with the discharge information, and 90% felt they were ready for discharge. Eighty-six percent of patients saw their surgeon at 6 weeks, and 88% were satisfied with this follow-up plan. Some patients felt they had inadequate post-operative information, including how to resolve complications while at home and lack of reliable information for common post-operative occurrences. Patients with ostomies wanted more information about what to expect post-discharge and what symptoms were normal. Support from the homecare team and having a surgical nurse available were considered to be essential.
Conclusions: Improved post-operative education for surgical patients prior to discharge within iERAS is required to facilitate patient-centered discharge planning. Such interventions may help decrease unplanned hospital visits during the immediate post-discharge period.
Keywords: Barriers/facilitators; Discharge planning and follow-up; Enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS); Patient experience.