Study emphasizes the need for doctors to understand what patients undergoing surgery really want

What do patients really want? These are important questions that doctors at the University of Vermont have tried to answer.

In the August issue of Diseases of the Colon & Rectum, Dr. Wrenn and his colleagues surveyed 167 patients who had undergone a colorectal resection between 2009 and 2015. They asked these patients to complete a questionnaire regarding their hospital care. While doctors always believe that patients think it is very important to use the latest technology, to have short hospital stays, and to have very small surgical incisions, in this study, Dr. Wrenn found that the most important factors for patients were 1) being cured of cancer, 2) not having a permanent colostomy, and 3) avoiding complications after surgery. Factors that were listed as being least important to patients were the length of hospital stay, the use of laparoscopy, and the appearance and length of their surgical incision. Overall patients were very happy with the care that they received. This study emphasizes the need for doctors to talk with their patients and find out what things are important to them rather than assuming that they know what these are. More studies of this type are needed.

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