Setting Expectations to Enhance Outpatient
While outpatient surgical procedures allow patients to recover in the comfort of their own homes, outpatient postoperative care has the potential to place unique burden on patients and their caregivers. Post-surgical patients may require support in completing daily activities, managing pain, and caring for the incision site. The Ambulatory Anesthesia Division recently studied this potential burden in order to explore ways to better set expectations and prepare patients and their caregivers for post-operative care. By comparing expected versus actual recovery at 7 and 30 days postop and expected versus actual time to resume daily activities, the researchers found that patients may take longer to recover than originally anticipated. In the population of patients and caregivers studied, 36% of patients needed more time to resume daily activities and 10% needed more time off work than initially anticipated.
Given this information, the Ambulatory Anesthesia Division is determined to work with the entire surgical care team to help patients and caregivers anticipate recovery time and progress expectations in order to better prepare for outpatient surgery. To facilitate home recovery, the anesthesiologists aim to use short acting anesthetics, multimodal pain relief, and the use of regional anesthesia to help manage post-operative pain. The division continues to break ground in clinical and process-oriented improvements that support their patients and families to manage their recovery processes on an outpatient basis.