A total gastrectomy is a major surgery that involves the complete removal of the stomach. It is usually performed to treat severe stomach cancer, or to reduce the size of the stomach in order to manage problems such as obesity and acid reflux. The surgery can be life-changing, and involves significant lifestyle and dietary adjustments.
Therefore, it is important that the patient receive comprehensive discharge teaching to ensure they have the necessary skills and knowledge to manage their condition. Here is what the nurse should include when providing discharge teaching for a patient who has had a total gastrectomy:
Patients who have had a total gastrectomy will need to make a number of dietary changes in order to accommodate their new digestive system. These include:
- Eating small, frequent meals
- Chewing food thoroughly
- Eating softer foods
- Avoiding raw vegetables and fruits
- Avoiding spicy, greasy, and high-fat foods
- Drinking plenty of fluids between meals
Due to the decreased ability to absorb nutrients, patients may need to take nutritional supplements following a total gastrectomy. The nurse should discuss the need for taking vitamin and mineral supplements with the patient, as well as provide education on how to take them correctly. The patient should also be encouraged to speak to their doctor or dietitian to develop an individualized nutrition plan.
Monitoring for Signs and Symptoms
The nurse should also teach the patient to monitor for signs and symptoms of complications such as dehydration, malnutrition, infection, and postoperative bleeding. The patient should be instructed to call their doctor if they experience any of these symptoms, as well as any new or worsening pain.
Follow Up Care
Finally, the nurse should provide the patient with information on follow-up care. This should include when and where to have follow-up appointments, as well as the importance of attending these appointments.
A total gastrectomy can be a major life change, but with the right information and support, the patient can manage their new digestive system and enjoy a full, active life.