Report reveals room for improvement in care after abdominal surgery

Friday, 26 March, 2021

Report reveals room for improvement in care after abdominal surgery

A new report reveals that almost half of abdominal surgery patients in Australia feel they were not given adequate, helpful or accurate information for post-operative recovery, with a further 97% saying they’ve never been offered alternative healing and support options, such as abdominal support bands and scar healing therapies.

The POP (Post-Operative Plan) Report highlights the real-life experiences of Australians recovering from abdominal surgery — from caesareans and hysterectomies, to appendectomies and bowel surgery, hernias and endometriosis-related surgeries — sparking discussion about how patients and healthcare professionals can work together to bring about faster recovery times through practical solutions.

According to the POP Report — commissioned by Heal Better and conducted by IRIS Research — 95% of healthcare professionals surveyed believe that when patients are informed about common post-operative complications and subsequent preventative measures, hospital re-admissions will decrease. However, only 70% admitted to providing a structured post-operative recovery plan to patients.

“The new research in this report is much needed. It indicates the difficult experiences of Australians recovering from a range of abdominal surgeries, and the benefit to patients in providing a holistic recovery plan,” Gynaecologist and Infertility Specialist Dr James Moir said.

Gynaecologist and Infertility Specialist Dr James Moir.

“Slow or complicated recovery from abdominal surgery can have significant impacts on the individual, including the inability to return to work, loss of income, decreased mobility and function, challenges in caring for children or older relatives, and discomfort in undertaking normal daily activities.

“By improving standards of care and providing guidance for patients, the Heal Better kit will contribute to faster and less painful recovery after abdominal or laparoscopic surgery, and reduce the risk of further complications,” Dr Moir said.

Mel Greig has undergone six abdominal surgeries for endometriosis and has never been given a post-operative recovery plan. “As an endometriosis sufferer, I understand the planning required for abdominal surgery, and it’s not as simple as organising surgery over a weekend. I need to plan to take 2–4 weeks off work to have the surgery and recover,” Greig said. “I’ve since learnt there are other strategies that I can implement to manage the pain, such as using a belly band, decreasing the bloating by doing particular exercises, and stretches to increase the blood flow, as well as a specific diet.”

Mel Greig has undergone six abdominal surgeries for endometriosis and has never been given a post-operative recovery plan.

Surgery, particularly abdominal surgery, causes significant trauma to the body, and recovery can range from intensive physical rehabilitation to a few days bed rest. The POP Report reveals recovery concerns are delaying Australians returning to work, with 75% of patients ‘sometimes’ or ‘often’ having to extend their work or study leave for longer than anticipated.

Although information is available for patients to educate themselves on post-abdominal surgery aftercare, there is not one reliable and accessible source that will guide a patient through the healing process. Heal Better aims to bridge that gap with credible, medically backed solutions and evidence-based products.

Dr Moir said the Heal Better kit, including the Belly Band support garment, offers a step forward in alleviating some of the problems in post-surgery recovery.

“I have had several women use the Belly Band in the last 18 months, who have had surgery with me in that time, and the feedback is very positive. They are very happy with the significant support the band offers in the early phase following surgery.”

Main image credit: ©

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