The importance of preoperative information for patient participation in colorectal surgery care


Correspondence: Carina M Berterö, Professor, Division of Nursing, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping 581 85, Sweden. Telephone: +46 10 1037768.



Aims and objectives

To identify and describe patients' experiences of a preoperative information session with a nurse, as part of the enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) concept, and its impact on patient participation in their own care.


Enhanced recovery after surgery is a standardised, multimodal treatment programme for elective colorectal surgery, leading to faster recovery and shorter hospital stays via interprofessional collaboration. The ERAS concept is initiated for patients a week before surgery when the patient receives detailed information about the care process during a meeting with a nurse.


The study is a qualitative interpretive study based on interviews.


Twelve patients, nine men and three women, were interviewed. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA).


The analysis identified and formulated five themes: being seen, security, trust, responsibility and participation. All themes are closely related and illustrate positive and negative sides of the patient's experience. They hang together and form a complete set of experiences: ERAS conversation and its impact on patients' participation.


The results show that patients feel confirmed in the ERAS conversation. Healthcare professionals need to be bonding more information call during hospitalisation. It is important to confirm the patient in order for them to participate and take responsibility. Reliance on caregivers is important for patients to feel safe and to participate in their own care. This study shows that the ERAS conversation was experienced as being structured and individually tailored, but the information must apply to the patients throughout the period of care.

Relevance to clinical practice

Some shortcomings have been revealed, which should enable improvement in the care of patients. Healthcare professionals need to raise awareness of patients' responsibilities for participation in their own recovery and care. Healthcare professionals and patients need to be aware of each other's responsibilities.