Monday, April 8, 2013

Patient Narratives and Surgical Site Infection

Those close to me know that I believe in the value of narrative as a means for better understanding illness and the human condition.

A greater understanding of patients' experiences within healthcare is helpful to improve clinical care. Here is a recent article on the value and potential use of patient narratives of surgical site infections. 

Narrative interviews were performed on 17 patients with surgical site infections [SSIs (four deep, 12 organ space and one superficial)] from three hospitals in the UK.

The results are telling. Patients lacked overall awareness, concern and understanding of SSIs. Seven patients did not know that they had SSIs. 

In my opinion, it is important for patients to have a clear understanding of their medical care. This would allow for more realistic expectations, improved outcomes and may ease suffering.  In this study, SSIs had a low profile and understanding among patients. If post surgical care were better understood by patients, SSI detection and prevention could be enhanced. 

Narrative medicine matters, even in surgical patients.

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