Questions to Ask Before Surgery

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Questions to ask before surgery

“Questions to ask before surgery” is an important patient education material available to patients. The material provides older adults with answers regarding hospital tests, surgeries, other procedures, and is usually provided to senior patients before receiving treatments. However, as described in Part 9 of the “Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services”, people should consider certain changes the age leads to when designing and writing material for audiences, particularly for older adults. Some of these changes were not considered; hence, it is necessary for them to be made to the material.


The pamphlet has been educative to senior patients but it has the potential to have more impact to aging patients with a low health literacy level if a few critical changes are introduced. First, it would be useful to improve the readability of the document since majority of the aging patients have poor vision and visit the hospital for retinal surgery or refractive surgery. One way of improving the readability for patients with poor sight is making the texts bold. The black texts are inscribed on a white background but still present difficulties for older adults. Thus, changing the font style from regular to bold would enable adults with poor vision to see clearly. Part 5 of the “Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services” approves this by indicating that it may be challenging to read non-bolded text when compared to bold text.

The document has one question that asks what happens if you do not undertake the operation. The response talks about weighing the risks and benefits of the operation and adds that the patient needs to know the status of the condition especially the possibility of the disease resolving itself. I think the question is very important as it reflects what most patients think but the answer was not quite clear as to what could happen. The document could have provided patients with sufficient information regarding the implications of not undergoing surgeries. The facility offers various surgery treatments and some of the elderly patients need a reason to stay focused and undergo treatment. Part 1 of the “CMMS Toolkit” 2012 illustrates that the use of plain language is not only appealing but also important to readers with poor literacy levels. Hence, the document should be presented in a way that makes it easy for readers to interpret, understand and apply.

Finally, one final change that needs to be made to the document is in regards to the question of how a patient can access emergency health services while at home. The question has been vaguely answered since the document requires one to look through other pages in order to find the hospital helpline. Part 4 of the CMMS toolkit indicates that information should be presented orderly, and in a way that makes sense to readers. Hence, the full answer to the question, including the hotline should have been presented on the same page.


Following this changes, I believe the “Questions to ask before surgery” will be a clear document that presents useful information to readers. The Centre for Medicare and Medicaid Services presents significant toolkits that should always be reviewed when preparing material for seniors with poor vision.


Centre for Medicare and Medicaid Services. (2012). Toolkit for Making Written Material Clear and Effective. Retrieved on February 15, 2018, from

October 13, 2023




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