The aim of this study was to describe patients' experiences of, and preferences for, surgical wound care discharge education and how these experiences predicted their ability to self-manage their surgical wounds. A telephone survey of 270 surgical patients was conducted across two hospitals two weeks after discharge. Patients preferred verbal (n = 255, 94.8%) and written surgical wound education (n = 178, 66.2%) from medical (n = 229, 85.4%) and nursing staff (n = 211, 78.7%) at discharge. The most frequent education content that patients received was information about follow-up appointments (n = 242, 89.6%) and who to contact in the community with wound care concerns (n = 233, 86.6%). Using logistic regression, patients who perceived that they participated in surgical wound care decisions were 6.5 times more likely to state that they were able to manage their wounds at home. Also, patients who agreed that medical and/or nursing staff discussed wound pain management were 3.1 times more likely to report being able to manage their surgical wounds at home. Only 40% (107/270) of patients actively participated in wound-related decision-making during discharge education. These results uncovered patient preferences, which could be used to optimise discharge education practices. Embedding patient participation into clinical workflows may enhance patients' self-management practices once home.