A Meta-Analysis of 191 Studies with 8,600 Surgical Patients

A meta-analysis of 191 studies with 8,600 patients documents that patients who prepared for surgery had improved postoperative outcomes such as a reduction in use of pain medication, less blood loss, fewer surgical complications and shorter length of stay. These outcomes were the same for men and women, old and young from different geographical locations. This analysis was undertaken by Elizabeth C. Devine, professor of nursing at the University of Wisconsin School of Nursing. (Devine & Cook 1983,1986,1992a,b).

A meta-analysis of 68 studies with 4,018 patients, (2,413 received preoperative instruction and 1,605 control group subjects), documentated a significant improvement in speed of recovery, length of hospital stay and use of pain medication. “Their outcomes were 20% better than those not receiving preoperative instruction (Hathaway 1986).” Donna Hathaway, an assistant professor in the School of Nursing at the University of Tennessee conducted the meta-analysis.

Another meta-analysis of 34 controlled studies with 3,254 patients facing surgery or recovery from heart attack showed that “patients who are provided information or emotional support to help them master the medical crisis do better than patients who receive only ordinary care.” Psychological and behavioral interventions reduced  length of stay by an average of 2.4 days.” Emily Mumford, Ph.D. and her associates at the University of Colorado undertook this quantitative review (Mumford, 1982).

These findings suggest that patientinitiated psychological techniques may  benefit the surgical patient’s physical and emotional well-being. In addition, the reduced length of stay may result in signicant savings in hospitalization costs.