Patient Education for Incentive Spirometer UseHailey J. Pfeifer Discussion Abstract • Thousands of people receive tummy tucks and body contouring surgeries each year, and one of the most important processes in recovery is re-strengthening the functioning of the respiratory system. Abdominal procedures are known for having high risk of postoperative respiratory complications, and the use of an incentive spirometer assists patients in training themselves to breathe properly again in order to avoid this. However, a spirometer can only be effective if it is used correctly, and the way that patients are taught to do this plays an important factor in their overall understanding of the process. The goal of this experiment was to determine whether preoperative or postoperative instruction about how to use a spirometer gives patients the highest level of understanding. I hypothesized that preoperative instruction would show to be more effective than postoperative instruction. This hypothesis was supported. Ideally, the results of this experiment will provide doctors with a clearer representation of which method is the most beneficial to their patients. My hypothesis was supported: The patients who were instructed preoperatively felt that they had a higher level of understanding and confidence when using the spirometer, suggesting that this is the more beneficial time to teach this concept. Instructing patients before surgery eliminates various distractions, allowing them to focus and process information given to them. A major flaw in my research was the scope of the experiment. Due to time constraints and a limited number of patients, I was only able to study 8 people. A larger group would allow for more accurate conclusions to be drawn, since it would depict truer patterns over a broader scale. Figure 1 Conclusion Results The results of this experiment helped to illustrate the benefits of teaching patients how to use their spirometer before surgery, as opposed to after in recovery. Being that this doesn’t require any increased costs, risks, or time, it would be rational for surgeons to adopt this method of teaching to ensure that their patients have the opportunity to learn in the appropriate environment. In the future, I would like to conduct another investigation in order to explore the various learning styles of patients to maximize their understanding. People have unique preferences of learning information, and whether they are visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learners, they should be taught in the way that best suits them. Developing several different methods of teaching patients the same information would allow for better understanding. • The patients receiving preoperative instruction had, on average, a higher level of understanding (p-value of 0.08) and took less time to recover (p-value of 0.03.) • Table 1: understanding was measured on a scale from 1-10, recovery time was measured in days. • Every patient stated that they were able to remember the instructions independently without having to ask a family member for clarification, but two patients in the post-op group felt unclear about the instructions. • Patients instructed preoperatively were asked if they felt that this benefitted their understanding, and all four patients said “yes.” Methods and Materials I. There were two groups studied in this investigation: A. Four patients who had abdominal surgeries at Dr. Workman’s office and were taught how to use a spirometer in the recovery room by a nurse, post- operatively. B. Four patients who had abdominal surgeries at Dr. Workman’s office and were taught how to use a spirometer on the day of their procedure before they began their operation. II. Several weeks after the procedures, each patient was called and asked a series of questions to determine how well they felt they retained the information they were given about how to use the device, how comfortable they felt using it on their own, and how effective the spirometer was in guiding their recovery. III. Results were compared and analyzed using a t-test. Acknowledgements Thank you to Dr. Michael Workman and his staff, especially my mentor Rainy Ring, for facilitating my project and allowing me to spend time researching and observing in their office. Also, thank you to Kim Newman for helping me establish connections and create a project.