Assess patient readiness to learn before discharge

When patients leave your same-day surgery program, are they able to understand what you’re saying to them? Are they ready to learn?

"They may not be," says Ann Kobs, sentinel event specialist for the Department of Standards at the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) in Oakbrook Terrace, IL. "You may have to talk to a spouse or a significant other. Or, in the case of an elderly person, a son or daughter."

Between January and July 1997, 6.5% of facilities undergoing JCAHO accreditation received a score of 3, 4, or 5 for education standard PF.1: learning needs, abilities, and readiness assessed.

Patients who have undergone general or monitored anesthesia care often don’t remember the instructions, warns Ray Grundman, general manager of Surgicenter of Greater Milwaukee and surveyor for the Accreditation Association of Ambulatory Health Care in Skokie, IL. Because such patients are discharged with a responsible party, ask that party to sign the written instructions, he suggests. "When we do a chart audit, we can see that the care partner received the instructions. That’s ideal."

Patients should be educated about the medications they will take after they leave, not the ones they’re receiving at the facility, Kobs says. Patients need to be educated about food and drug interactions if there’s a potential problem with the drugs they’ll take at home, she says.

Grundman likes to see a two-ply patient teaching form used so one copy can remain in the chart and one can be send home with the patient. It’s also important that patients have written instructions on how to get in touch with someone if they have a problem, Kobs points out.

Preparing for the CNOR Examination — Nov. 13-14, Bakersfield, CA; March 5-6, Houston; June 11-12, Naperville, IL; Sept. 10-11, Fort Lee, NJ. Sponsored by Association of Operating Room Nurses. Contact: AORN Customer Service/Regis tration, 2170 S. Parker Road, Suite 300, Denver, CO 80231-5711. Phone: (800) 755-2676.

Bridging the Centuries Through Collabora tive Leadership — Jan. 22-24, Orlando. Sponsored by American Association of Nurse Anesthetists and Association of Operating Room Nurses. Contact: AORN Customer Service/Registration, 2170 S. Parker Road, Suite 300, Denver, CO 80231-5711. Phone: (800) 755-2676 or (303) 751-0337.

Same-Day Surgery Conference — March 14-16, Atlanta. Sponsored by American Health Consultants, publisher of Same-Day Surgery. Contact: Customer Service, P.O. Box 740056, Atlanta, GA 30374. Phone: (800) 688-2421 or (404) 262-7436. Fax: (800) 284-3291.