Quality surgical education resources put patients first

In keeping with the theme “Putting Our Patients First,” the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Patient Education program has developed an extensive collection of evidence-based Patient Education resources to help our members assure patient-centered care. From informational brochures that explain surgical procedures and engage patients in informed decision-making to home skills kits that prepare patients and their caretakers in the critical role they play in recovery, all the ACS Surgical Patient Education Program materials are available to be viewed online at or in print by request to anyone seeking to empower patients with education and preparation.

The Surgical Home Skills series gives patients and caretakers access to full color booklets and videos with step-by-step skill instruction and checklists in the preparation and home management of the care of an ostomy, feeding tube, or central line, and for managing their wound care or following a lung operation or breast cancer surgery. Practice equipment allows hands-on experience with complex skills, and patients who use the kits report fewer problems, the use of fewer resources and emergency room visits, and greater confidence in self-care and overall satisfaction.

The Wound Management Home Skills program includes resources for the care of complex lacerations, abrasions, and skin tears; surgical wounds and drains; pressure ulcers; diabetic foot ulcers; and venous leg ulcers and lymphedema. The kits include instruction and skills demonstration based on the consensus of a team of multidisciplinary wound care experts and guidelines. The kits also include checklists for essential daily care and comprehensive discharge plans including all home care needs and resources.

The Central Line Home Skills program prepares patients and caretakers with an overview of all types of central lines (CVAD), understanding the circulatory system, and equipment including a CVAD model to practice flushing the line, administering medication, changing the needleless connector and dressing, and troubleshooting at home. All material meets the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

The Feeding Tube Home Skills kit includes training on the care of all types of adult and pediatric feeding tubes to enable patients and caretakers to have a greater understanding of feeding tubes, their digestive system, and the administration of feedings and medications. A feeding tube simulation model, with extension sets and syringes, is included with each kit as well as a comprehensive booklet and detailed skills video to guide practice. Patients and families report that using the Feeding Tube kit took many of their questions away and they used it as a teaching tool for all their family members.

Your Lung Operation is the first in a planned Surgical Cancer series that will guide patients through the surgical experience of a patient with cancer. Patient preparation before cancer surgery can be extensive, and this program will help patients understand their diagnosis, the type of operation they will need, home preparation, participation in clinical trials, pain management, discharge, recovery, and survivorship needs. Your Lung Operation matches the staging and guidelines from Lungcancer.org and recommendations from the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

Your Breast Cancer Surgery Program will be the next available in this series. It includes a booklet (available electronically) with information on breast cancer diagnosis and staging, procedure overview, preoperative preparation, potential risks, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone and targeted immunotherapy options, discharge instruction, and home care and survivorship treatment plan. A 35-minute video reviews important aspects including the skills and exercises related to the content, surgical site, and drain care. All materials will meet the guidelines for health literacy, informed consent (ACS), surgical safety (Joint Commission), National Accreditation of Breast Center, and Commission on Cancer guidelines.