A QUALITATIVE STUDY EXPLORING EXPERIENCES OF PERIOPERATIVE NUTRITION IN PEOPLE UNDERGOING COLORECTAL SURGERY WITHIN AN ENHANCED RECOVERY AFTER SURGERY PROGRAMME
Objectives: Nutrition is a key component of Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) pro- grammes. Studies have previously indicated that nutrition is an important area of ERAS requiring improvement according to patients. This project aimed to explore experiences of perioperative nutrition (PN) in people undergoing colorectal surgery, to identify potential barriers and facilitators to the uptake of PN practices within an ERAS programme. Methods: Sixteen individuals scheduled for elective colorectal resection participated in a semi- structured interview between postoperative day three and hospital discharge. The topic guide was piloted in four participants and developed iteratively throughout the study. Topics included pre- operative counselling, carbohydrate loading, fasting, and postoperative nutrition. Demographic and medical data were collected to contextualise experiences. Data were analysed using an inductive thematic approach, and the constant comparison technique was employed during coding. Four transcripts were double coded to ensure coding scheme validity, and a reflexive approach was used throughout the research process by means of a research diary to acknowledge the potential in- volvement of the researcher, setting and participant characteristics on the data. Results: Four key themes were observed: preparation, autonomy, relationship with food and the hospital environment. From these themes, barriers to PN practices were identified including lack of information provision, negative experiences of nutritional drinks, coping with changes in percep- tions of food due to chemotherapy, operative consequences and stoma placement, and aspects of the hospital structure. Facilitators included the ability of patients to be actively involved in their recovery, staff support, and accessibility and choice of food. Conclusion: Perceived barriers and facilitators to the uptake of PN practices within an ERAS programme were identified. Changes in practice that target these could improve patients’ experi- ences of nutrition and ensure that the nutrition components of ERAS programmes are implemented. Disclosure of Interest: None Declared.