Patient Perspectives on Transitions of Surgical Care: Examining the Complexities and Interdependencies of Care

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This study examined a thematic network aimed at identifying experiences that influence patients’ outcomes (e.g., patients’ satisfaction, anxiety, and discharge readiness) in an effort to improve care transitions and reduce patient burden. We drew upon the Sociology and Complexity Science Toolkit to analyze themes derived from 61 semistructured, longitudinal interviews with 20 patients undergoing either a benign or malignant colorectal resection (three interviews per patient over a 30-day after hospital discharge). Thematic interdependencies illustrate how most outcomes of care are significantly influenced by two cascades identified as patients’ medical histories and home circumstances. Patients who reported previous medical or surgical histories also experienced less distress during the discharge process, whereas patients with no prior experiences reported more concerns and greater anxiety. Patient dissatisfactions and challenges were due in large part to the contrasts between hospital and home experiences. Our hybrid approach may inform patient-centered guidelines aimed at improving transitions of care among patients undergoing major surgery.

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