Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
Summary Patients undergoing procedures under general anaesthesia as day cases are routinely given a set of instructions regarding activities to avoid in the first 24 h after discharge. Day surgery units generally specify the need for a responsible carer from time of discharge for a period of 24 h. This study looks at the compliance of 240 patients with postoperative instructions. Of the patients studied, 4.1% drove, 1.7% made important decisions, 3.3% drank alcohol, 0.8% took sedatives and 10% cooked, ironed or looked after children. All patients were discharged into the care of a responsible adult. However, 13.3% failed to have a carer with them for 24 h and 1.3% spent the night alone at home. Of our cohort, 25% were unable to comply with the postoperative instructions in full. The majority of non-compliance occurred on the day following surgery, suggesting that patients may feel that the advice is excessively cautious.
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