Perceptions of early discharge following lung surgery: I’m a patient “get me out of here”

Samantha Louise Harrison, Pat Watson, Chloe Milburn, Fiona Bowe, Joel Dunning


Background: Patients have been discharged from hospital one to two days post-surgery since the implementation of enhanced recovery after surgery programs. This study aimed to investigate the perceptions of individuals with a diagnosis of lung cancer on early discharge following a lung resection.
Methods: A qualitative study using Deductive Thematic Analysis was conducted. Nine individuals with a diagnosis of lung cancer who had undergone a lung resection and were discharged one to two days following surgery participated in semi-structured interviews.
Results: Five overarching themes were identified: (I) motivators for hospital discharge describing patients’ desire to return home, (II) evolving feelings about early discharge and (III) coping at home post-surgery reporting heightened feelings of anxiety when faced with self-care and daily activities, (IV) the role of family members describing the physical and emotional support required from carers and (V) long-term recovery explaining the difficulty of re-engaging in activities due to symptoms associated with recovery and co-morbidities.
Conclusions: Early discharge following surgery for lung cancer was acceptable to the majority of patients. However, a follow up phone call maybe necessary to mitigate fears about pain and to encourage activity.