Don't just tell patients which medications to take and which ones to avoid on the day of surgery — show them.
Patients given a simple, multi-color, standardized medication instruction sheet, along with spoken instructions, are more likely to comply and also have shorter post-op stays, finds a study published in the July issue of the journal Anesthesiology.
The study's authors compared compliance rates of 531 patients given pre-printed instructions with those of 519 patients who were given instructions in more traditional ways, such as annotated or highlighted portions of their electronic medical records or via conversation, only. The compliance rate was 74% for those given the pre-printed sheets, versus 60% for the "traditional" group.
The volume of information patients are given pre-operatively often exceeds their short-term memories, says lead author Thomas Vetter, MD, MPH, of the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine. "Our findings show that providing patients with a standardized instruction sheet … with simple language can improve compliance significantly."