Master's thesis: preoperative information for elective surgical patients

​The purpose of this thesis was to develop the preoperative information given for elective surgical patients in the hospital of Kätilöopisto. The aim of this study was to find out a possible lack of instructions and ways of developing the preoperative patient education materials to prevent the surgical site infection (SSI). The results of this study stated that the preoperative patient education material lacks information, in order for the patient to participate well enough in his own care process. Patients’ own activity has an important role in preventing SSI, but it depends on the patients’ education. This study provides information of the current state of the preoperative educational material for the surgical patient in the hospital of Kätilöopisto, and a starting point for further development of the preoperative instructions.

The material for this study consisted of preoperative education materials estimated by the gynecological patients and the professional nurses. Guidelines for the elective abdominal, vaginal and laparoscopically assisted hysterectomies were examined. The data pointed out the need for development of preoperative patient education material. Parts of the essential guidelines were missing from the given instructions and some of the instructions were updated last in 2009. The patients were more pleased with the appearance and the content of the instructions than the professional nurses, but both informant groups stated there was no reference to infection prevention or control in the instructions.

Data from the patients’ questionnaires was collected with a quantitative research approach. Professional nurses participated in a collaborative workshop on quality of instructions. The workshop data was qualitative. Mixed methods were used to increase the reliability and the validity of the results.

Sufficient information enables patients to make informed decisions about their care and helps them to understand the importance of the instructions. The guidance should be patient-centered, individual and paying attention to the health status, needs and the background of the patient. Inadequate resources and patients' shortened stay in the hospital are causing challenges to perioperative guidance.

The patient education can be developed with nursing improvement. Appropriate professional training is necessary to ensure the sufficient level of professional knowledge. The knowledge and expertise of the professionals should lead to well planned, systematic and developed patient education.

The patient can get an SSI during or after the surgery on that part of the body where the surgery took place. SSI can be superficial, deep incisional or deep organ involving infection. The SSI can turn out very harmful and the recovery is slow. The SSI endangers the safety of the patient, lowering the quality of the care and increasing the pain and suffering of the patient. Patients with infec-tions require more treatments and nursing. As the most SSI incidencies are caused by the patients’ skins own bacterial flora, the preventive measures preoperatively are important.

The data of this study indicates the need for instructions of better quality and more detailed patient education. Patients' educational materials, methods and guidelines should be developed in the future. The results of our study can be used in planning and development of the preoperative patient education. Further research is needed to find out what is the suitable infection prevention content in perioperative patient education.

Further information:

Rea Grady
Master’s degree programme in Health Promotion
Tel +358 45 8870761, rea.grady(at)

Modified 6/13/2016 2:32 PM