Incidence of Preventable Postoperative Readmissions Following Pancreaticoduodenectomy: Implications for Patient Education

Margaret Hari

Margaret Rosenzweig

Patient education, pancreatic neoplasms, psychosocial support systems
ONF 2012, 39(4), 408-412. DOI: 10.1188/12.ONF.408-412

Purpose/Objectives: To determine readmission rates post-pancreaticoduodenectomy (PD), readmission reasons following PD, and patients' postoperative education prior to discharge.

Design: Retrospective, descriptive study of established medical records of patients who have undergone PD from 2006-2008.

Setting: PD cohort from a pancreatic cancer program.

Sample: 62 patients aged 18 years or older, diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, who had PD.

Methods: Data abstracted from inpatient and outpatient electronic records as per study protocol and entered into Excel® spreadsheet for analysis.

Main Research Variables: Incidences of and reasons for readmissions post the PD procedure. Discharge education given to patients prior to discharge.

Findings: Patients were discharged at mean postoperative day 11.3. Readmission rate was 28%. Reasons for readmission were dehydration or malnutrition (n = 10, 16%) and surgical site infection (n = 7, 11%); 10% of patients (n = 6) had documented difficulties with dehydration, malnutrition, and failure to thrive noted at follow-up. PD discharge teaching was documented in a mandatory discharge form. No standard curriculum was used.

Conclusions: Patients undergoing PD experience an increase in self-care demand postdischarge. Poor discharge education can lead to high rates of readmission, specifically for dehydration and malnutrition, mandating an assessment of patient education prior to discharge.

Implications for Nursing: Close attention must be given to the needs of patients with pancreatic cancer postdischarge. Trying to identify the areas of educational deficit at patient readmission could help nurses identify what they can do to minimize preventable complications. Educational focus for patients undergoing PD should be on prevention of dehydration, malnutrition, and surgical site infections.

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