Patient education and engagement

Patient and caregiver preparation is an essential part of an ERP. The goal is to better prepare patients to play an active role in their recovery. Benefits of preoperative information include shorter hospital stay, less demand for analgesia and increased patient satisfaction (1). Developing effective patient education materials is a science as well as an art. Patients should be provided written information that explain patient preparation before the surgery, what to expect the day of surgery and daily milestones and goals for each day after surgery for drains, fluids, nutrition and mobilization. Population health literacy levels are generally low, and the materials should use plain language and pictures. The criteria for hospital discharge are documented and the patient’s role in recovery is stressed. Patient education begins in the surgeon’s office and the patient guide should be available there, used in the preoperative clinic for further teaching, and brought to hospital.

click for examples of patient education guides from established ERPs
McGill University Health Centre: (

MD Anderson ERLS Patient Information

For more information, see Chapter 2: Preoperative Education in The SAGES / ERAS® Society Manual of Enhanced Recovery Programs for Gastrointestinal Surgery

1. Kiecolt-Glaser JK1, Page GG, Marucha PT, MacCallum RC, Glaser R. Psychological influences on surgical recovery. Perspectives from psychoneuroimmunology. Am Psychol. 1998 Nov;53(11):1209-18.

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