1 Department of Clinical Medicine - Anaesthesiology, Department of Clinical Medicine, Health, Aarhus University2 Department of Public Health - Department of Science in Nursing, Department of Public Health, Health, Aarhus University3 Studienævnene på HE - Board of Studies, Health Science, Studienævnene på HE, Health, Aarhus University4 unknown5 Department of Clinical Medicine - Anaesthesiology, Department of Clinical Medicine, Health, Aarhus University
a phenomenological hermeneutic study
OBJECTIVE: To obtain knowledge of patients' experiences of postoperative symptoms during the initial two weeks following fast-track colonic cancer surgery. METHOD: Semi-structured in-depth interviews with seven colonic cancer patients two weeks post hospital discharge. Analysis was performed using a phenomenological hermeneutical approach. RESULTS: During the first two weeks after discharge the patients experienced unfamiliar symptoms that affected their everyday lives. Despite distressing symptoms, they applied a "wait-and-see" strategy, and only reacted when symptoms became intolerable. The patients failed to report their unfamiliar symptoms during hospital nurse follow-up telephone call. While waiting for the final histology patients suffered loss of sleep and chaotic thinking, and experienced ambiguity of hoping for the best and expecting the worst. CONCLUSION: Although fast-track surgery programmes lead to shorter hospitalisation and improved physical performance, post-colonic surgery patients experience various symptoms after discharge. Healthcare professionals need to address symptoms that might have immediate and long-term consequences on patients' everyday life. Follow-up studies are encouraged to explore the patient perspective to identify the needs of individual patients after hospital discharge.