The aim of this research project was to evaluate the recordkeeping of postoperative nursing care. A total of 186 randomly selected patient records were evaluated in terms of a checklist that included the most important parameters for postoperative nursing care. All the patients underwent operations under general anaesthetic in one month in a Level 3 hospital and were transferred to general wards after the operations. The data collected was analysed by means of frequencies. One finding was that the neurological status of most patients was assessed but that little attention was paid in the patient records to emotional status and physical comfort. The respiratory and circulatory status of the patients and their fluid balance were inadequately recorded. The patients were well monitored for signs of external haemorrhage, but in most cases haemorrhage was checked only once, on return from the theatre. Although the patients’ pain experience were well-monitored, follow-up actions after the administration of pharmacological agents was poor. The surgical intervention was fully described and, generally speaking, the records were complete and legible, but the signatures and ranks of the nurses were illegible. Allergies were indicated in the most important records. The researchers recommend that a comprehensive and easily usable documentation form be used in postoperative nursing care. Such a form would serve as a checklist and could ensure to a large degree that attention is given to the most important postoperative parameters. Errors and negligence could also be reduced by this means.
Roets, L., Aucamp, M. C., de Beer, H., & Niemand, M. (2002). Keeping record of the postoperative nursing care of patients. Curationis, 25(4), 38–47.