New Booklet Helps Patients Prepare for Colonoscopy

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UCLA and Veterans Affairs researchers have developed an educational booklet that can help patients better prepare for a colonoscopy, potentially saving their lives.

The effectiveness of a colonoscopy depends as much on what happens in the hours before the patient comes in for the exam as it does on the skill of the healthcare team. Up to a quarter of patients still undergo the exam with inadequate bowel preparation, which can limit the effectiveness of the procedure and lead to missed polyps and incomplete or aborted procedures.

Reporting in the April 12 online edition of the American Journal of Gastroenterology, the UCLA–VA team addressed these concerns by first asking patients what information would help them better prepare for a colonoscopy. Based on these findings, the team developed a user-friendly booklet that was then tested with patients.

In preparing the booklet, the team first met with patients to glean knowledge, attitudes and beliefs that might drive inadequate colonoscopy preparation. Researchers then created the educational booklet using high-quality visual elements, such as pictures of what patients can and cannot eat during colonoscopy preparation. The booklet also included a section on frequently asked questions and a checklist and calendar for when to take purgatory medications to cleanse and clear the bowel. Researchers ran the draft booklet by another group of patients before finalizing it.

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