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Patient perspectives on recovery and information needs after surgery: A qualitative study of veterans

APA Citation:

Sasnal, M., Langston, A. H., Morris, A. M., Harris, A. H. S., & Arya, S. (2022). Patient perspectives on recovery and information needs after surgery: A qualitative study of veterans. Journal of Surgical Research, 279, 765–773. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jss.2022.06.050


Physical health

Branch of Service:

Multiple branches

Military Affiliation:


Subject Affiliation:



Adulthood (18 yrs & older)
Aged (65 yrs & older)


Sasnal, Marzena, Langston, Ashley H., Morris, Arden M., Harris, Alex H. S., Arya, Shipra


Introduction Little is known about patients' postoperative emotional and social functioning and preferences for recovery settings. This qualitative study explores patients’ perspectives on factors influencing postoperative recovery, including the proportion of time recovering at home (home time) and unmet information needs. Methods Semistructured interviews were conducted between September and December 2020 with veteran patients aged 65 y or older who underwent surgery at a single hospital. A purposeful sampling strategy was used to identify patients with a broad representation of major operations and various amounts of home time. One-hour interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and anonymized for analysis. A rigorous team-based in-depth thematic analysis was performed. Validation techniques to enhance the quality and credibility of the study included triangulation, independent coding, and search for disconfirming evidence. Results Twelve patients were interviewed (11 [91.7%] males; mean (standard deviation) age, 72.3 [4.8] y). Five factors that influenced the recovery process emerged: (1) professional support services, (2) informal caregiver support, (3) environment for recovery, (4) individual traits, and (5) physical and functional impairments. The analysis also elucidated four unmet information needs regarding recovery: (1) personalized and detailed information, (2) anticipated recovery time, (3) possible complications, and (4) comprehensive information about discharge location options. Conclusions The study demonstrated that patients recovering from surgery require wide-ranging levels of support to meet their unique needs and preferences. Patients value easy-to-understand and personalized information about recovery from providers. These findings may be helpful to develop strategies that better support patients in their postoperative recovery and post–acute care transition pathways.

Publication Type:



home time, patient-centered approach, postoperative recovery, qualitative research, quality outcomes research, unmet information needs

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