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Health Literacy Linked to Length of Stay After Abdominal Surgery

Last Updated: October 05, 2017.

For patients undergoing major abdominal surgery, lower health literacy levels are independently associated with longer index hospitalization length of stay, according to a study published online Oct. 4 in JAMA Surgery.

THURSDAY, Oct. 5, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- For patients undergoing major abdominal surgery, lower health literacy levels are independently associated with longer index hospitalization length of stay, according to a study published online Oct. 4 in JAMA Surgery.

Jesse P. Wright, M.D., from Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, and colleagues examined the correlation between health literacy and postoperative outcomes among 1,239 patients undergoing elective gastric, colorectal, hepatic, and pancreatic resections for benign and malignant diseases. The Brief Health Literacy Screen was used to assess health literacy levels, and the correlation of health literacy levels with postoperative outcomes was determined.

The researchers found that in unadjusted and adjusted analyses, controlling for patient demographics and clinical characteristics, patients with lower health literacy levels had a significantly longer length of stay. There was no significant correlation for lower health literacy with increased rates of 30-day emergency department visits or 90-day hospital readmissions.

"The role of health literacy needs to be further evaluated within surgical practices to improve health care outcomes and use," the authors write.

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