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Prehabilitation project

Pathway gets patients fit for surgery

An initiative ensuring patients are well enough for surgery has been given additional funding to build on the success of a four-month pilot.

St Mark’s Complex Colorectal Cancer Team developed its prehabilitation pathway to tackle the growing problem of surgical cancellations due to patients’ poor health and previously undiagnosed conditions.

Multi-disciplinary teams assess and advise patients on how to become match fit for surgery up to a month before their procedure.

Patients see a consultant, anaesthetist and pharmacist followed by a dietician and physiotherapist during an afternoon clinic.

The pilot treated 100 patients with half of these seeing average post-operative stays reduced from 25 plus days to 12 days.

The result is one of the most comprehensive prehabilitation pathways in the UK which has something of a labour of love for the team.

A spokesperson said: “The pandemic left us with a big elective backlog made more problematic by the number of late cancellations because patients simply weren’t fit enough to undergo surgery.

“The knock-on effects include a bigger backlog, frustrated patients, the need to transfer patients from our new home at Central Middlesex to Northwick Park’s intensive care unit, and longer than normal stays when they got to intensive care.

“The new pathway has made a positive impact on reducing all of these problems and we are keen to share our learning with other surgical departments across the trust.”


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