Enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) is a programme that aims to get patients back to their normal health as quickly as possible after surgery.
In the Royal Alexandra Hospital, Paisley we have been running an ERAS programme for the last 5 years. This programme is aimed at patients coming in for elective bowel surgery, either due to having bowel cancer or inflammatory bowel disease.
Although there are lots of factors involved with ERAS, there is a strong focus on physical activity and early post operative mobilisation. Patient are given information on the importance of being active prior to surgery and of the benefits of this on their recovery. Having discussed this, the patient is offered a referral to either Macmillan Move More programme or to their local authority Get Active programme.
We have established “The Apple Clinic” prehabilitation service where we discuss lifestyle changes and promote the benefits of physical activity. Exercise is a medicine, the fitter the patient, the less likely they are to experience complications after surgery.
Surgical recovery starts as soon as the patient is back to the ward. Patients are assisted out of bed to sit for 2 hours morning and afternoon. If they are able, they walk the length of the ward with assistance. Leg exercises are also encouraged to promote good circulation and reduce the risk of DVT.
Over the next few days patients are sitting up for longer spells and are encouraged to walk more around the ward. We have introduced a walking circuit in the ward as a way of encouraging mobility which is identified with big yellow signs.
Patients are encouraged to walk around the 60m circuit 4 times a day, which they mark up on our daily ward walking chart. This is motivational and can turn into a bit of a competition! Understanding the benefits spurs patients on to really push themselves.
We will continue to promote physical activity and are always coming up with new ideas to help patients in their hospital journey.
“Physical activity is an important part of wellbeing. Especially when recovering from surgery” – Mary, Colorectal patient
“The benefits of getting mobile as soon as possible are many, including quicker recovery and early release from hospital. It also keeps your muscles firm.” – John, Colorectal patient
This article was originally published in The SCPN Newsletter Volume 8, Issue 1. Read the digital newsletter below using Issuu, or feel free to download the PDF.View the PDF
In this issue we have a section focusing on cancer survivorship as well as our regular features - examples of good practice, public health initiatives, recipes and interesting studies which contribute to the body of evidence on cancer prevention.