Getting Your Grumble Back

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Purpose of study: Viewing the surgical patient holistically within their environment of care, the bedside nurse is aware of the possible complication of postoperative paralytic ileus that can lead to patient discomfort and increased medical costs. Acute care nurses observed postoperative patients watching televised cooking shows on a consistent basis and questioned if there was a mind–body link between bowel function and watching cooking shows. Design of Study: The study used an observational approach to examine the return of bowel sounds for postoperative patients. Method: Ninety-four patients that underwent abdominal surgery participated. A questionnaire was administered to capture total hours postsurgery of patient viewing cooking shows followed by chart review for age, height, weight, information specific to surgery, and documented first postsurgical flatus. Findings: This study found that non–bariatric general surgery patients who watch cooking shows during hospitalization are significantly more likely to experience return of appetite and stomach sounds within 1 day postsurgery than patients who do not watch cooking shows. Conclusions: Based on the results of this study, the authors suggest that, when possible, patients who receive non–bariatric abdominal surgery be encouraged to watch cooking shows to experience the potential benefits such as early return of bowel functioning.

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