Consider any one of the thousands of individuals who visit their doctor annually and are informed that they need to undergo some medical procedure. It could be a routine procedure like a colonoscopy, or a non-routine procedure like having a cancerous tumor removed. Anytime a patient must undergo a medical procedure there are a number of pre-operative, perioperative, and post-discharge steps that must be followed. Often patients must alter their diets and physical activities prior to (and following) a procedure. Once admitted to the clinic or hospital on the day of the procedure, the patient follows a number of well-defined, sequential steps to prepare for what’s next. Understanding risks associated with a procedure, receiving medications and anesthesia administered by a care team, and undertaking the actual procedure are each a critical part of the whole patient perioperative experience. And no matter how many times a patient might have faced such an intervention before, the unfamiliar environment combined with the inherent complexities and gravitas of personal health leads to significant stress and anxiety.
Twenty-five percent of Americans are predicted to be 65 or older by 2030 (U.S. Census) and this demographic will outnumber those 18 and younger by 2035. Physical, emotional and cognitive changes associated with normal aging place an enormous emotional and financial burden on the senior, their family and the healthcare system. Studies show that as many as 13% of home care recipients experience an adverse event, may of which are preventable.