10 Warning Signs to Include in Colorectal Surgery Discharge Plan

Written by Sabrina Rodak | January 15, 2013 | Print  |

Experts identified 10 symptoms colorectal surgery patients should notify their physician about post-discharge in a study in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

Researchers gathered a panel of 11 experts to reach consensus using the Delphi process on warning symptoms colorectal surgery patients should be aware of post-discharge. The experts identified 10 symptoms that should trigger patients' notification of their physician:

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•    Wound drainage
•    Wound opening
•    Wound redness or changes in the skin around the wound
•    No bowel movement or lack of gas/stool from an ostomy for more than 24 hours
•    Increasing abdominal pain
•    Vomiting
•    Abdominal swelling
•    High ostomy output and/or dark urine or no urine
•    Fever greater than 101.5°F
•    Not being able to take anything by mouth for more than 24 hours

In addition, the experts agreed that patients should seek emergency care if they experience shortness of breath or the inability to breathe or chest pain.
The authors concluded that these warning signs can be used to "help develop a more sophisticated patient-centered discharge tool for surgical patients."

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