Bariatric patients' knowledge of postoperative complications and lifestyle changes

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Nursing


Obesity is a growing epidemic in the United States. With obesity comes the comorbities associated with this disease such as hypertension, diabetes and sleep apnea. To help combat this growing epidemic bariatric surgery has become an acceptable and widely used procedure for the severely obese. Although bariatric surgery can help mitigate the comorbities, there are many possible complications and lifestyle changes that are associated with this surgery. Healthcare providers provide a critical role in educating bariatric patients about the process of the surgery, lifestyle changes, and possible complications that can occur postoperatively. The primary purpose of this study is to explore the extent of bariatric patient's knowledge related to specific post-surgical considerations associated with gastric bypass surgery. This study examined their knowledge of the postsurgical complications, postsurgical diet, fluid intake, and medication preparation following surgery. A descriptive, cross-sectional survey design was used to explore bariatric patient's knowledge related to specific post-surgical considerations associated with gastric bypass surgery in a Central Montana facility. Bariatric patients were given a twelve question quiz regarding possible complications from surgery, lifestyle changes, and diet regimes postoperatively. None of the patients answered all of the questions correctly. Areas where patients had the most knowledge were questions pertaining to home medication doses and preparation, signs of infection, normal drain color, pain that is not controlled by pain pills being uncommon, and pain, redness or swelling in the legs being abnormal. Questions answered incorrectly included minimum fluid intake, protein intake, when the greatest weight loss would occur, and avoidance of fluids before and after meals. Demographic data explored age, occupation, educational materials received and sources of materials given. The results of this study demonstrated that bariatric patients in this Central Montana facility may not have sufficient knowledge regarding postoperative care and lifestyle changes. The data also suggests that more emphasis needs to be placed on using different types of educational materials and individual learning preferences to facilitate improving patient outcomes.




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