Environmental Needs, Barriers, and Facilitators for Optimal Healing in the Postoperative Process: A Qualitative Study of Patients' Lived Experiences and Perceptions
SourceHERD, 13, 3, (2020), pp. 125-139
Article / Letter to editor
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Primary and Community Care
SubjectRadboudumc 0: Other Research RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences; Radboudumc 10: Reconstructive and regenerative medicine RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences; Radboudumc 18: Healthcare improvement science RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences
OBJECTIVES: Gaining an understanding of postoperative patients' environmental needs, barriers, and facilitators for optimal healing. BACKGROUND: An optimal hospital environment (the "healing environment") can enhance patients' postoperative recovery and shorten length of stay. However, insights lack into patients' lived environmental needs for optimal healing after surgery and how these needs are being met. METHOD: A qualitative study was conducted between August 2016 and August 2017 with 21 patients who underwent elective major abdominal surgery in a Dutch university hospital. Data were collected through context-mapping exercises and interviews to capture patients' lived experiences and explore the meaning of these experiences. Data were systematically analyzed according to the principles of thematic content analysis. RESULTS: Three themes were identified. First, participants want a sense of control over their treatment, ambient features, privacy, nutrition, and help requests. Participants described the need for positive distractions: personalizing the room, connecting with the external environment, and the ability to undertake activities. Finally, participants expressed the importance of functional, practical, and emotional support from professionals, peers, and relatives. According to participants, the hospital environment often does not meet their healing needs while being hospitalized. CONCLUSION: The hospital environment often does not meet patients' needs. Needs fulfillment can be improved by practical adjustments to the physical and interpersonal environment and considering patient's individual preferences and changing needs during recovery. Patient narratives, pictures, and drawings are valuable sources for hospital managers in their efforts to design evidence-based environments that anticipate to patient-specific needs for achieving early recovery.
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