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Patient anxiety unaffected by education

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Patient education by nurses or using online tools does not decrease patients’ levels of anxiety prior to surgery, a new study has found.

Researchers from Finland measured the emotions of 147 ambulatory orthopaedic surgery patients before and after their education session asking them about their feelings of worry, impatience and uncertainty.

About half of the patients were educated with an internet based tool while the remainder had a face to face session with a nurse. The study found emotion scores did not decrease after patient education under either method, although levels of anxiety overall were low.

Journal of Perioperative Practice, 2012; 22(7):226-231

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Interesting piece of reserch - sady i can't access the full copy but a coupe of things strike me:
    i) The sample size here is low and the potential for benefit is also low given low anxiety levels
    ii) we don't know what the background care is - provision of information is not the standard of care and it is hard to tell if tehse interrventions are instead of or as well as us usual care.
    iii) what happens immeidatly afterwards is not really the issue - its post opoerative recovery that matters and a before and after difference in anxiety can't tell us anything about benefits there
    iv) as with any single study it needs to be read alongside all the otehr trials in the area to come to an overall conclusion...

    So read with caution: this does NOt tell you that patient education is without value and it doesn't even tell you conclusively whether or not it has an effect on anxiety!

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