The aim of this study was to explore postoperative experiences of pain and distress in elderly patients, as well as interventions aimed at reducing these conditions, on three occasions. The study group was composed of 100 patients who had undergone elective surgery in two orthopedic and two general surgical units. Of the 50 patients in the orthopedic units, 26 had undergone hip arthroplasty and 24 knee arthroplasty: of the 50 patients in the general surgical units, 23 had had breast cancer surgery, and 27 abdominal surgery. The patients were interviewed, using a structured interview format, on three occasions; at the ward on the first and second day after surgery, and by telephone about ten days after discharge from hospital. Within both the sensory and the emotional dimensions, logistic regression analyses showed that the dependent variables of pain and distress were significantly related above all to type of surgery and sense of coherence (SOC). In a cluster analysis, three meaningful clusters of patients were obtained. The patients in the different profiles showed variations in their experiences of pain and distress. The 12 patients with the least favorable scores had weaker SOC than the patients in the other profiles. It is concluded that type of surgery and psychological factors influenced patients' experiences of pain and distress after undergoing surgery. These experiences should be reduced by identifying risk patients, and improving assistance and support in the nursing ward, and also when patients have returned home.
1999. Vol. 11, 73-82 p.