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Physiotherapy education and training prior to upper abdominal surgery is memorable and has high treatment fidelity: a nested mixed-methods randomised-controlled study

Abstract

Objectives

To (1) assess memorability and treatment fidelity of pre-operative physiotherapy education prior to elective upper abdominal surgery and, (2) to explore patient opinions on pre-operative education.

Design

Mixed-methods analysis of a convenience sample within a larger parallel-group, double-blinded, randomised controlled trial with concealed allocation and intention-to-treat analysis.

Setting

Tertiary Australian hospital.

Participants

Twenty-nine patients having upper abdominal surgery attending pre-admission clinic within six-weeks of surgery.

Intervention

The control group received an information booklet about preventing pulmonary complications with early ambulation and breathing exercises. The experimental group received an additional face-to-face 30-minute physiotherapy education and training session on pulmonary complications, early ambulation, and breathing exercises.

Outcome measures

Primary outcome was proportion of participants who remembered the taught breathing exercises following surgery. Secondary outcomes were recall of information sub-items and attainment of early ambulation goals. These were measured using standardised scoring of a semi-scripted digitally-recorded interview on the 5th postoperative day, and the attainment of early ambulation goals over the first two postoperative days.

Results

Experimental group participants were six-times more likely to remember the breathing exercises (95%CI 1.7 to 22) and 11-times more likely (95%CI 1.6 to 70) to report physiotherapy as the most memorable part of pre-admission clinic. Participants reported physiotherapy education content to be detailed, interesting, and of high value. Some participants reported not reading the booklet and professed a preference for face-to-face information delivery.

Conclusion

Face-to-face pre-operative physiotherapy education and training prior to upper abdominal surgery is memorable and has high treatment fidelity.

Trial Registration: ACTRN-12613000664741.

Cite this article

Physiotherapy education and training prior to upper abdominal surgery is memorable and has high treatment fidelity: a nested mixed-methods randomised-controlled study.

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