A pre-operative patient education program involving physics has approximately halved the rate of post-operative pulmonary complications in patients undergoing major elective surgery. Known as ERAS+, the multidisciplinary patient education programme was introduced at Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Trust in September 2014. It followed an audit during the previous year.

This showed almost 20% of patients undergoing planned elective major surgery with a planned critical care admission developed post-operative pulmonary complications.

As a result, the existing patient education programme was revised. Additional measures to reduce the potential for post-operative pulmonary complications, such as pneumonia, were introduced.

Patients were given advice on early mobilisation, what to expect from surgery, as well as the use of spirometers to measure pre-op chest health. Patients were also encouraged to get themselves fit for surgery.

Surgery School

Typically, the advice was delivered during one-hour ‘surgery school’ sessions held from four to six weeks before surgery. These were run by doctors, senior nurses and physiotherapists from the critical care and surgery team.

‘The idea is to empower patients before and after surgery,’ said Lisa Kerigan, a specialist physio in critical care and surgery. ‘And the programme is producing statistically significant results.’

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