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Minerva Chirurgica 2004 February;59(1):61-8


language: Italian

The surgical needs of elderly patients in day-surgery

Nardi M. jr, Perri S. G., Pietrangeli F., Gabbrielli F., Lotti R., Nicita A., Dalla Torre A., Amendolara M., Kanavos E., Citone G.


Aim. The possibility of carrying out surgery in day-surgery (DS) conditions is gradually becoming reality in most branches of surgery; in recent years, DS has also found a place in general surgery, with unquestionable advantages for the management of patients, particularly the elderly. The purpose of the present study is to investigate general surgery needs in DS conditions in elderly patients in order to analyse the clinical-administrative feasibility of DS procedure and the level of its acceptability in this group of patients.
Methods. A specially drafted questionnaire was submitted to patients admitted over a period of 18 months to the General Surgery Division of the University of L'Aquila. The details investigated in the questionnaire were: age, sex, educational qualification, working activity (independent or employee), presence in the patient's relational entourage of health workers willing to serve the patient at home, the patient's willingness to undergo the surgery for which he was admitted to the DS. The questionnaires of the over-64s were examined and the percentage of patients willing to undertake DS intervention instead of normal hospitalisation was evaluated; this willingness was then compared with the parameters sex, educational qualification, working activity and presence in the patient's relational entourage of health workers willing to assist the patient at home.
Results. 317 questionnaires were compiled. In 78 cases (24.6%) the patient was older than 64; the data for these patients were extrapolated. Willingness to undergo surgery in DS conditions was expressed by 23 patients (29%), whereas 55 patients (71%) stated that they were not available. In relation to sex, willingness to use the DS was 29.7% in the 37 male patients and 29.2% in the 41 females. With reference to the qualification, willingness was expressed by 71.4% of patients with a degree, 26.9% of patients with a high school leaving certificate and 15.7% of patients with a lower qualification. DS-willingness was 28% in the 75 pensioners and 66.6% in the 3 patients who worked for themselves. As regards the presence in the relational entourage of the patient of health workers ready to assist at home, DS-willingness was 23.9% in the 71 patients who did not have anyone in their relational entourage and 85.7% in the 7 patients who had such a health worker in their entourage.
Conclusion. Willingness to undergo DS by elderly patients is mainly influenced by three factors: educational qualification, working activity and possibility to have home assistance from someone in the relational entourage; these parameters can be considered veritable selection criteria for DS in the elderly. The quality improvement in assistance levels and the introduction in the near future of telematic communication system could lead to an extension of DS indications to the elderly.

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