Impact of health literacy on outcomes for day patients


  • Mary Corcoran
  • Univadis Medical News
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Identifying patients with low health literacy and addressing their specific needs are important factors to consider for optimising postoperative recovery in day surgery patients, suggest the authors of a new study published in JAMA Surgery.

The recommendation follows new findings that inadequate functional health literacy (FHL) in patients undergoing day surgery was associated with poorer postoperative recovery and lower health-related quality of life. It comes at a time when increasing numbers of surgical procedures are being performed as day surgery.

The study examined data on 704 patients who underwent day surgery in Sweden from October 2015 to July 2016. The FHL level of each participant was calculated and patients were categorised into three FHL groups: inadequate, problematic or sufficient. 

The authors found the Swedish online Quality of Recovery (SwQoR0) score indicated poor recovery in both inadequate and problematic  FHL. Low FHL, however, did not seem to have an effect on the number of healthcare contacts.

The authors noted a number of limitations to their study including that they did not know if the patients experienced any generalised anxiety disorder or depression preoperatively, which may have affected certain findings.

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