Patient Descriptions About Weight Loss Surgery Education Practices
Groller, Karen Diane
University of Kansas
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Weight loss surgery (WLS) is a surgical option that can help obese patients achieve a healthy bodyweight when combined with behavioral lifestyle changes. Patients who struggle with adhering to postoperative regimens are more likely to experience weight recidivism approximately one year after WLS. Nationally accredited WLS centers are required to support patients in making necessary lifestyle changes before and after surgery through educational programs. A literature review showed the current state of WLS education is neither evidence-based nor patient-centered, as it varies in curriculum, teaching methods and type of educator for both preoperative and postoperative WLS phases. The purpose of this qualitative descriptive study was to obtain in-depth descriptions from patients about their WLS experience, specifically about education received before and after the surgery and recommendations to improve the experience for future patients. Eleven volunteers participated in a private, semi-structured interview after being randomly selected from one northeastern Pennsylvania WLS practice database and meeting study inclusion criteria. The interview data were used to answer the following research questions: a) How do patients describe their overall WLS experience? b) How do patients describe the education received during their WLS experience? and c) What factors contribute to patient satisfaction with WLS education? The study results were depicted using the concept of A New Me-Version 2.0, through three main themes. Theme 1: Programming and Tools explained how obese individuals become ready to take charge with a healthier lifestyle and the available educational and support programming offered to support that change. Theme 2: Updates and Upgrades, is where participants reflected on their quality of life before and after surgery and daily challenges still experienced. Theme 3: Lessons Learned and Considerations for Future Versions identified participant’s level of satisfaction with the WLS experience and provided suggestions to improve the WLS experience. Obese patients used WLS to initiate movement towards lifestyle changes for better health. Patients perceived education and support programs as collaborative necessity that positively reinforces continued progression toward healthier lifestyles. These study results reveal patient perspectives about the WLS educational experience and satisfaction with that experience. Recommendations provided may facilitate improvements for WLS patient experiences by refining education practices that were suggested by post-WLS patients, inform accreditation standards with results and facilitate change based on evidence and encourage development of future studies to evaluate the impact WLS patient education has on clinical outcomes.
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