Postoperative Distress of Orthopedic Ambulatory Surgery Patients

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Patients who undergo orthopedic ambulatory surgery have reported high levels of symptom distress during recovery at home. Content analysis of this qualitative descriptive study identified techniques of symptom management that effectively reduce postoperative symptom distress after orthopedic ambulatory surgery and provided insight into facilitators and barriers to postsurgery self-management. Focus groups consisted of 19 patients and caregivers recruited from a university orthopedic surgery office. The authors identified the common themes as distressing symptoms and consequences of surgery, management of symptoms, and self-management facilitators and barriers. Participants in our study noted the lack of continuity of care after discharge and wanted to know the realities of symptoms and receive more detailed information from care providers on how to self-manage symptoms. Nurses involved in the care of these patients should focus not only on short-term recovery, but on preparing patients to manage sustained recovery issues at home.

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