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Patient education programme

By Sandra Dixon, Macmillan Thoracic Surgical Nurse Specialist, St James University Hospital

Category: Treatment

The problem identified

To provide focus and direction for service improvement a patient survey was conducted. The results showed that patients wished for improvement in information regarding their expectations - especially at admission and discharge. Patients asked for one to one support and to have the opportunity to talk to others. Providing written information alone did not guarantee patients were informed.
In response to the results of the survey a weekly 2 hour session of patient education was set up to encompass issues such as pre and post exercises and mobility, post operative pain management, nutrition, smoking cessation, explanation of adjuvant therapy, discharge advice and provide a brief overview of the patient's surgical pathway. Patients are given a diary of exercise to commence prior to admission, continuing right through surgery to recovery post discharge. The programme is co-ordinated by the thoracic surgical nurse specialist with the specialist sessions being delivered by the physiotherapists, dieticians, pharmacists, surgeons, nurse specialists and ward sisters.

How it changed my practice

Each week 10 patients and a companion will attend the programme. This initiative will improve patient readiness for surgery, provide a realistic overview of the hospital experience and recovery, pre-empt and decrease the anxiety that comes with elective surgery. The programme will help communicate to patients that thoracic surgery for lung cancer has a predictable course of recovery and helps prepare the patient and their family for their post discharge care needs.
The venue is within the hospital with refreshments being funded from a charitable fund. There is no cost implication for the speakers as this is incorporated into existing roles and responsibilities. To ensure those who require hospital transport in order to attend the session the programme has been set up as a clinic session. It is estimated that it will cost £80,000 per year by running the course in this format.


Hughes, S.(2002) The effects of giving patients preoperative information. Nursing Standard. 2002 16 (28): 33-37 Garretson, S. (2004) Benefits of preoperative information programmes. Nursing Standard. 2004 18(47): 33-37.


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