A study borne from an international research partnership between the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Penn Nursing) and Griffith University School of Nursing and Midwifery in Australia looks at injury recovery from the patient’s point of view.

“While it is recognized that focusing on what patients envision to be good outcomes is an important part of patient-centered care, asking trauma patients and their families what they consider to be the priorities of care and recovery has been neglected,” says Penn Nursing’s Therese S. Richmond, PhD, FAAN, CRNP, the Andrea B. Laporte Professor of Nursing and Associate Dean for Research & Innovation.

She, and study’s lead author Leanne M. Aitken, PhD, RN, Professor of Nursing, now at the City, University of London, conceived the study—published recently in the journal Injury—while Aitken was undertaking a Fulbright Senior Scholarship at the University of Pennsylvania, according to a media release from University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.

Their study, which included 33 trauma patients, 22 family members, and 40 clinicians from trauma departments in two Australian teaching hospitals, focused on two areas: learning what patients, family members, and clinicians considered to be the indicators of successful recovery from an acute hospitalization after traumatic injury; and understanding if these indicators differed between these groups of stakeholders or changed over time, from during hospitalization to 3 months after discharge.

Five specific indicators of recovery included returning to work, resuming family roles, achieving independence, recapturing normality, and achieving comfort.

In some participants, their perceptions of indicators of injury recovery changed over the 3 months post-discharge. The changes fell into three broad groups: increasing recognition that activities of daily living were important; increasing realization of the impact of the injury; and unfolding appreciation that life could not be taken for granted, the release continues.

While in the hospital, trauma patients often noted their desire to care for themselves. However, the implications of their physical limitations did not fully reveal themselves until after discharge and became increasingly apparent within the first month of being at home.

“Changes in expectations and priorities over time have implications for how we provide education and support that should be tailored to different phases in the recovery trajectory,” Richmond notes in the release. “As patients and family members change their expectations over time, appropriate care needs to be provided across the care continuum.”

The study’s findings indicate a further need to explore recovery priorities using quantitative techniques to determine relevance to a broad cross-section of trauma patients and to develop an appropriate set of outcome measures that patients consider to be important. Although some differences between stakeholder groups were identified, similarities and differences should be tested further in larger groups, the release explains.

“It is expected that by understanding what matters to patients and family members will help us empower patients to be active participants in the healthcare process and will underpin development of patient-reported outcomes that should be used in practice and research in trauma care,” Aitken comments. “This information will also inform future trauma outcome research to ensure these priority areas are appropriate for a broader range of participants.”

[Source(s): University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, Newswise]