More Patient Education Needed for Gynecologic Robotic Surgery

May 8, 2017

Women undergoing robotic surgery procedures for gynecologic cancers and nonmalignant conditions report more patient education needs than those undergoing traditional laparotomy.

Women undergoing robotic surgery procedures for gynecologic cancers and nonmalignant conditions report more patient education needs than those undergoing traditional laparotomy, researchers reported in a poster session at the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) 42nd Annual Congress, held May 4–7 in Denver.

“Women in the robotic group had significantly higher learning needs overall compared to the laparotomy group,” reported lead study author Victoria Loerzel, PhD, RN, OCN, of the University of Southern Florida in Orlando, Florida, and colleagues. “Specifically, needs were increased related to medication, activities of daily living, feelings related to condition, treatment and complications, and enhancing quality of life.”

The finding held true regardless of patients’ disease status (benign or malignant), the researchers noted. But because robotic surgery is less invasive and has fewer side effects and faster recovery times than laparotomy, nurses and other providers frequently underappreciate the importance of postoperative patient education, the study authors suggested.

Robotic surgery is increasingly common in managing complex gynecologic cancers and conditions previously treated with laparotomy. It is associated with shorter hospitalizations, less blood loss, and postoperative pain. However, patient education needs have been little studied for people undergoing robotic surgery.

The research team sought to compare the learning needs of women with benign and malignant gynecologic conditions on whom robotic surgery or laparotomy is performed at a tertiary care hospital. A total of 226 patients were included in the study: 155 in the robotic surgery group and 71 in the laparotomy group. Mean patient age in both groups was 55 years; 87.7% of patients in the robotic group were Caucasian vs 76% in the laparotomy group. Patients in the robotic surgery group had a median hospital stay of 1 day vs 3 days among patients in the laparotomy group (P < .001).

The researchers collected patient demographics and administered Patient Learning Needs Scale (PLNS), a 5-point rating scale, prior to hospital discharge.

Robotic surgery group patients’ PLNS total and most subscale scores indicated a greater need for patient education (total PLNS scores: 179 [+/- 36.7] vs 161 [+/- 47.7]; P = .002). Differences were also statistically significant for the subscale scores for medication, living activities, feelings related to condition, treatment and complications, and enhancing quality of life, the authors noted.