The purpose of the Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) programme is to get patients back to their full health as soon as possible and aims to reduce complications by promoting pre-operative patient education, post-operative goal setting and strict and safe discharge criteria that must be met before going home.
10 years later, now with eight members of staff, the programme is used for patients coming into hospital and receiving colorectal, bariatric, gynaecology, orthopaedics, urology and head and neck elective surgical procedures.
Most patients are seen on a one-to-one basis in an Enhanced Recovery clinic before their surgery, or in group sessions if appropriate, and are encouraged from the start to play their part in their own recovery, whilst knowing they have the support of the team at every stage.
Over the years, the service has had a huge impact in reducing inpatient hospital stay. The less time a patient is in a hospital setting, the better it is for their physical and mental wellbeing. This reduces the risks associated with longer hospital stays, such as infections and the loss of independence and mobility.
Patients receiving elective hip and knee replacement surgery now go home around two days after the procedure, instead of five days. The average stay for a patient receiving weight loss surgery has reduced from three days to one day, and some cases discharged on the same day. Many patients with a partial knee replacement are able to go home on the same day too.
Not only does this benefit the patient, but also allows the Trust to deliver more procedures to additional patients, as the inpatient space becomes available.
The ERAS team collect data to understand any further developments and changes they can make in the programme to continually improve patient care.
Irene Fitt, Clinical Lead for Enhanced Recovery at the Luton and Dunstable University Hospital said: “I am so proud of the team and what we have achieved for patients and the Trust over the past 10 years.
“It is very much about the wider team. The physiotherapists, nurses, pharmacists, managers and consultants involved in the programme make the service a success.
“The patients are at the centre of everything we do. We work together to ensure they are back to their full health as soon as possible.
“I look forward to seeing how the service develops even further over the next 10 years!”