University Of Tasmania

File(s) not publicly available

Consistency of written post-operative patient information for common urological procedures

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-19, 09:23 authored by Davies, N, Papa, N, Ischia, J, Bolton, D, Lawrentschuk, N

BACKGROUND: Following urological procedures, it is common for patients to receive written handouts containing pertinent post-operative information and advice. This study aims to assess the consistency of procedure-specific post-operative advice provided to patients in Australia.

METHODS: Post-operative handouts for common urological procedures were obtained from a selection of Australian hospitals and practising urologists' websites. Handouts were examined for consistency with regard to post-operative advice and the Flesch-Kincaid grade level was calculated to determine readability.

RESULTS: In total, 209 handouts were reviewed comprising seven urological procedures. The majority of handouts provided information regarding expected symptoms (88%) and when to seek medical attention (70.8%). Overall, 85.2% of handouts provided advice about which activities should and should not be performed. Instructions for return to work (32.1%), driving (45.5%), sex (32.1%) and physical activity (56%) were less universal. Infection, bleeding, pain and swelling were the principal reasons to seek medical attention. Duration of expected symptoms and timing for resuming normal activities were the most common sources of discordance between handouts. The mean Flesch-Kincaid grade level was 9.7 with a range of 6.7 to 13.6. Only 9.6% of patient information handouts had a grade level of 8 or less and no handouts were at or below the suggested grade 6 readability level.

CONCLUSIONS: There is a significant degree of variability in written post-operative advice provided to patients in Australia. Individual surgeons and hospitals should provide specific and tailored advice directly to their own patients, written at a grade level suitable for the majority to understand.


Publication title

ANZ Journal of Surgery










Tasmanian School of Medicine


Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia

Place of publication


Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Clinical health not elsewhere classified

Usage metrics

    University Of Tasmania