The early post-operative concerns of men after radical prostatectomy
The aim of this study was to explore the concerns of men with urinary incontinence in the early weeks of recovery after radical prostatectomy for early stage prostate cancer. As part of a larger study evaluating effectiveness of intensive physiotherapy for post prostatectomy incontinence, semistructured interviews were conducted at study entry. Sixty-three men approximately 8 weeks post-surgery participated. The descriptive data were analysed for themes. Pre-operative concerns focused on dealing with the diagnosis of prostate cancer, information gathering and decision-making. Post-operatively, a frequently repeated concern was lack of knowledge about the post-surgery recovery period. Specifically, men stated they did not process much of the detailed pre-operative teaching provided by the urologists and the nurses because of the overwhelming nature of the diagnosis. As a result, at discharge, they revealed many knowledge gaps about catheter care, post-operative pain, incontinence and erectile dysfunction. Participants also perceived a lack of health care professional support. These information deficits severely affected quality of life and healthy post-operative rehabilitation. The results of the informal interviews provide a deeper understanding of the post-operative recovery experience and suggest some strategies for improving the early weeks of recovery after radical prostatectomy including telephone follow-up, additional written information and on-going support.