Home recovery following day surgery: a patient perspective


  • Mark Mitchell MSc, PhD, RN

    Senior Lecturer, Corresponding author
    1. Faculty of Health and Social Care, University of Salford, Salford, UK
    • Correspondence: Mark Mitchell, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Health and Social Care, University of Salford, Seacole Building, Frederick Road, Salford, Greater Manchester M6 6PU, UK. Telephone: +44 0161 295 6480.

      E-mail: m.mitchell@salford.ac.uk

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Aims and objectives

To investigate aspects of care potentially most influencing home recovery following day surgery.


Elective surgery undertaken on a day-case basis is expanding. Many medical aspects of recovery have been investigated although less is known about the psychosocial view of postdischarge recovery. Greater insight into such issues is required for the development of a more coordinated nurse-led approach.


Cross-sectional questionnaire.


As part of a larger study, questionnaires were distributed to 2401 adult patients on the day of operation (September 2010–October 2011) to examine patients' experiences of psychosocial recovery. Participants were requested to complete and return the questionnaire by mail one week after surgery with 684 returned.


Eighty-five per cent were fully prepared for all events during home recovery. Satisfaction with pre- and postoperative surgical information was high although less so anaesthetic information. Using factor analysis, preoperative information, pain management, postdischarge information, anxiety management, postoperative nausea and vomiting, help and rest once home were central features. Multiple regression analysis demonstrated pre- and postoperative information provision to have a statistically significant positive association with patients' being ‘fully prepared for all events during home recover’. Unsatisfactory pain management, increased anxiety and reduced help once home had a statistically significant negative association with patients' being ‘fully prepared for all events during home recovery’.


Focusing on the delivery of surgical and anaesthetic information, managing pain and anxiety and ensuring support once home may help to enhance recovery. A more comprehensive plan embracing such aspects could help enhance the day surgery patients' experience.

Relevance to clinical practice

Increased satisfaction and surgical/anaesthetic information are central to the continued success of minimal-stay surgery. A broader hospital/home strategy is required as too frequently nursing care can become fragmented between the preoperative outpatient visit, preassessment, day of surgery and postoperative outpatient visit.