Surgery cancellation: A scoping review of patients' experiences

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AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: To review the literature on patients' experiences of surgery cancellation to gain knowledge of nursing care needs and identify gaps in evidence.

BACKGROUND: Surgery cancellations are an ongoing challenge in healthcare systems with negative impacts on healthcare costs, hospital staff and patients. Most research addresses the reasons for cancellation and implementation of preventive interventions, but limited knowledge exists about patients' experiences of cancellation.

DESIGN: The scoping review was undertaken using the methodology recommended by the Joanna Briggs Institute for Scoping Reviews and the Reporting Cheklist for Scoping Reviews (PRISMA-ScR).

METHODS: A systematic search was conducted by two independent researchers in Cochrane Library, CINAHL, PubMed and PsycINFO. A forward and backward citation search was performed in Scopus and references in relevant studies were explored. The tool Covidence was applied to select, compare and discuss relevant articles. The Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool was used for critical appraisal.

RESULTS: Surgery cancellation is emotionally harmful with negative effects on patients. Four themes were identified: "Initial reactions to cancellation", "Reactions during a new waiting period at home and during readmission to hospital", "Information about cancellation" and "The experience of new practical arrangements". Patients whose surgery was cancelled experienced initial feelings such as anger, rejection and anxiety and physical/psychosomatic symptoms in the extended waiting period. Patients prefered early sufficient information about cancellation from the surgeon. The practical arrangements were stressfull for the patients.

CONCLUSION: Nursing care and identification of vulnerable patients are essential to prevent negative effects in the extended waiting period. Provision of timely, sufficient and professional information about cancellation from the surgeon is important. Further research assessing consequences of cancellation is needed.

RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: Patients would benefit if hospitals find systems to minimize cancellation, and healthcare professionals could systematically develop professional supportive interventions tailored to patients' individual needs.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
ISSN0962-1067
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Dec 2020

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