Article Abstract

A values-based conceptual framework for surgical appropriateness: an illustrative case report

Authors: Elizabeth J. Lilley, Angela M. Bader, Zara Cooper

Abstract

Appropriateness in surgical decision-making necessitates that surgical treatments are aligned with patients’ goals and values for care. To arrive at informed decisions for surgery, patients must have an understanding of post-operative recovery, the impact on quality of life, and expected functional outcomes. This article describes an illustrative case of an older patient who experienced a decline in health, functional status, and quality of life in the months following a major surgical operation that was not clearly aligned with her personal goals and priorities. Palliative care needs that arose during the course of the patient’s treatment are identified and described, revealing opportunities for better integration between palliative and postoperative care. A conceptual framework for measuring appropriateness in surgery, which incorporates patients’ goals, values and preferences for medical treatments, is proposed.

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