Ready to Go Home? Patients' Experiences of the Discharge Process in an Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) Program for Colorectal Surgery

J Gastrointest Surg. 2017 Nov;21(11):1865-1878. doi: 10.1007/s11605-017-3573-0. Epub 2017 Sep 20.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Colon / surgery*
  • Digestive System Surgical Procedures*
  • Elective Surgical Procedures*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Discharge Summaries
  • Patient Discharge* / standards
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Rectum / surgery*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult