Anxious to do everything right, and to finally find their answer to a lifetime of weight loss struggles, pre-op patients will do all that is asked of them. They attended required classes and support groups, complete psych evals & medical screenings, fill out all the forms, jump through all the hoops, and check off all the boxes. And off to surgery they go.
When post op questions come in like – “When can I have pasta? Or, “Is it ok if I have a diet coke?’ you wonder if they were listening at all!
As a 23-year WLS veteran myself, I remember intending to listen, trying to pay attention and take it all in, but with surgery eminent – my mind was overwhelmed with thoughts of will it hurt? will I survive the surgery? and can I really do this? So, I admit, like many of your patients I suspect, much of the information that I was taught before surgery, well, just didn’t stick.
Having worked with thousands of weight loss surgery patients for over 20 years we at BSCI have come to believe that while pre-op education is important, post op education is essential! Once the pre-op process, education and actual surgery is over, then important lifestyle learning can begin.
We have worked with hundreds of weight loss surgery programs and when we ask about their bariatric patient education programs, most refer to their websites and informational sessions. That is all well and good, but teaching about the different surgical procedure options, the first few months of dietary guidelines, availability of support groups and answers to insurance and financial questions, is not what we mean.
May I invite you to consider a new way of defining patient education. Or more specifically, post op education. Consider what you offer for your post-op patients in the way of long term, lifetime learning opportunities for post op patients. Opportunities beyond access to a dietician, exercise professional or mental health counselor.
Patients know how to lose weight but learning to maintain requires a completely different mindset. They have spent their lifetime following diets. Now they need to learn to think like a thin person, to learn more about the disease of obesity, their own metabolism and how to effectively use their surgical tool to manage their weight throughout the rest of their lives. Provide these resources for your patients after surgery and they will listen.
Consider these questions.
- Besides support groups, what post-op educational programs do you offer your patients?
- Does your bariatric team have the experience & resources necessary to educate and support your patients in long-term bariatric lifestyle learning?
- Are you taking advantage of the many telephonic and eLearning opportunities available for your patients and your staff?
- Do you offer an annual patient educational / celebration event?
We can help with all those things. Since 2000, BSCI has specialized in providing exceptional, long-term, resource-based education and support programs for weight loss surgery patients and the professionals who serve them. We are here to support you as you support your patients.
We can help you enhance your educational offering, expand your outreach and improve long-term outcomes for your patients.
Learn more about resources for patients
Learn more about resources for professionals
Click here to schedule a call with Colleen Cook to visit about your program needs and how we can help.
As a 10 year out veteran, I couldn’t agree with you more. The community tends to leave the patient to “do it alone” after the surgery and sometimes we find the wrong answers while trying to get some answers. The Weight Loss Community does an excellent job of supporting each other; however, our professional partner is usually absent. Overcoming side effects should be not be a conversation to have with your online friends, it should be with your physician. Medication management after surgery is tricky and needs to be looked at with a team approach with your entire care team. Although the surgery is becoming more prevalent, some primary physicians are still unaware how bariatric surgery will affect your basic care. I personally would love to see the bariatric surgeons possibly teach a course for the primary care community. I do think education is imperative to top notch patient care.