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Keywords:

  • breast cancer;
  • clinical education;
  • comfort;
  • oncology nursing;
  • postoperative care;
  • wound care

Aims and objectives.  This ABC to recovery study evaluated the combined and separate components of preoperative education and the effectiveness of wearing the Papilla Gown.

Background.  Surgical removal of the breast may lead to activity limitation, self-image issues, discomfort and later complication of lymphoedema.

Design.  This study used experimental and longitudinal design.

Methods.  One hundred and forty-five women undergoing mastectomies for stages two and three breast cancer were randomised into four groups: education and Papilla Gown, education only, gown only and control. The outcomes of activity (A), body image (B), comfort (C), knowledge and lymphoedema were assessed at baseline and/or 1 week and 6 months using three measures. All 145 participants completed the study questionnaires at first two measures, and forty-six of these participants completed the questionnaires at 6 months postoperatively. The setting for the study included two clinics and hospitals. To examine statistical significance at each time point after surgery, 2-way anovas were performed on ABC, knowledge and tape measurement to see whether there were any statistically significant differences between the four groups. All reported p-values are two sided. All statistical analyses were performed using sas 9.2 for Windows.

Results.  The mean age of the sample was 55 years. The study revealed that women who received the combined intervention demonstrated greater activity. Women who wore the gown only had a greater comfort level and decreased lymphoedema. Women that received preoperative education experienced increased knowledge.

Conclusions.  Outcomes suggest that the combined intervention (ABCs to recovery) can improve recovery following mastectomy.

Relevance to clinical practice.  The results will be used to further modify the intervention and to increase awareness of nurse practitioners and other healthcare professionals of the specific needs of postmastectomy patients.