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What are the support experiences and needs of patients who have received bariatric surgery?


Sharman, Melanie and Hensher, M and Wilkinson, S and Williams, D and Palmer, A and Venn, A and Ezzy, D, What are the support experiences and needs of patients who have received bariatric surgery?, Health Expectations, 20, (1) pp. 35-46. ISSN 1369-6513 (2017) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2015 The Authors Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1111/hex.12423


Objective To explore the support needs and experiences of patients who had received publicly or privately funded bariatric surgery and the importance of this support in mediating outcomes of surgery. Methods Seven semi-structured focus groups were conducted. A broad interview schedule guided the discussions which were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data were analysed thematically. Results Twenty-six women and 15 men with a mean age of 54 years (range 24–72) participated in the study. Participants described support needs from health professionals, significant others (family and friends), peers (bariatric surgery recipients) and the general community. Peer, dietetic and psychological support were identified as important factors influencing the outcomes (e.g. weight reduction or health improvement) or experience of bariatric surgery but were identified as infrequently received or inadequately provided. Psychological support was proposed as one of the most significant but commonly overlooked components of care. Support needs appeared higher in the first year post-surgery, when subsequent related or unrelated surgeries were required and following significant life change such as worsening health. For some participants, deficits in support appeared to negatively influence the experience or outcomes of surgery. Conclusion Providers of bariatric surgery should discuss support needs and accessibility regularly with patients especially in the first year post-surgery and following significant change in a patient’s life (e.g. declined health or childbirth). Nutrition, psychological and peer support (e.g. through support groups) may be especially important for some patients.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Bariatric Surgery, Public Health
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Sociology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Evaluation of health and support services
Objective Field:Evaluation of health and support services not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Sharman, Melanie (Dr Melanie Sharman)
UTAS Author:Williams, D (Dr Danielle Williams)
UTAS Author:Palmer, A (Professor Andrew Palmer)
UTAS Author:Venn, A (Professor Alison Venn)
UTAS Author:Ezzy, D (Professor Douglas Ezzy)
ID Code:104270
Year Published:2017 (online first 2015)
Funding Support:National Health and Medical Research Council (1076899)
Web of Science® Times Cited:19
Deposited By:School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2015-11-06
Last Modified:2017-11-20
Downloads:180 View Download Statistics

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