Asking the Right Questions is the First Step in Better Surgery

Asking the Right Questions is the First Step

As we have worked with patients in helping them to find the best way through surgery and back to their lives, we continue to be reminded of the importance of being an informed patient. Informed patients understand:

  • The need for surgery
  • Alternatives to surgery, if any, and the options within surgery
  • The importance of finding the right surgeon and team
  • What to expect in recovery

Asking the right questions, whether guided by a Goldfinch Nurse Navigator or finding your own way through surgery and recovery, is the best first step.

We have put together a list below of what we believe are the best questions to consider and ask as you prepare for surgery:

  1. Is this considered a minimally invasive surgery?
  2. Are there any surgical robots, devices or other new technologies available for this surgery?
  3. How many times have you performed this surgery? How often do you perform it?
  4. What will the preparation be like for me leading up to surgery?
  5. What kind of discomfort should I expect during and after surgery?
  6. What can we do before, during and after surgery to manage the discomfort?
  7. I’ve heard about the benefits of Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) protocols. Have you adopted an ERAS protocol for this procedure?
  8. What do you do to minimize the need for opioid pain medications?
  9. How soon will I be walking and eating after the procedure?
  10. How long should I expect to be away from my normal activities and out of work?
  11. Is there anything else we can do to make my recovery easier?
  12. What kind of help will I need at home and for how long?

If you arrive at your pre-surgery appointment with this list of questions (worksheet available here), you’ll be the most-prepared patient the physician has seen all year!