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A mixed-method study evaluating an innovative care model for rural patients undergoing outpatient breast surgery.

BACKGROUND: The Delta Oasis program was launched in New Brunswick in 2006 to offer patients from rural areas who were undergoing breast cancer surgery and their families 1 night of free accommodations and a postoperative consultation with an extramural nurse. We sought to investigate patient experiences with this program.

METHODS: This mixed-method retrospective study took place from 2020 to 2022 and compared the preoperative anxiety and quality of recovery of program participants and control patients who were discharged home over 100 km from hospital. We conducted 2 × 2 analysis of variance to evaluate the effects of intervention group and surgery type. We conducted semistructured interviews with intervention participants, which we then thematically analyzed. Two patient partners were engaged during data synthesis to support the interpretation of results.

RESULTS: We included 34 patients who participated in the program and 18 control patients. No statistically significant differences were found between treatment groups in preoperative anxiety and quality of recovery, regardless of surgery type. Thematic analysis of interviews with 17 intervention participants revealed that they were highly satisfied with the program and that the experience helped reduce stress and discomfort related to their surgery.

INTERPRETATION: The Delta Oasis program is a cost-effective alternative to inpatient care after breast cancer surgery and is highly regarded by rural patients; expansion to other regions with the inclusion of additional low-risk surgeries could help address hospital capacity issues. This study contributes to our understanding of the patient experience with the Delta Oasis program and informs the development of similar programs elsewhere.

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