Patients discharged home sooner

Thursday, 24 February 2011

The amount of time patients now have to spend in hospital recovering from their operations has dramatically decreased over recent years.

And now, rather than spending several weeks on the ward, patients at Frenchay who have undergone bowel surgery are going home just several days after their operation.

The enhanced recovery programme is open to patients who are undergoing surgery for conditions such as bowel cancer, Crohn’s disease and colitis.

Before coming into hospital, the patient takes part in an extensive assessment where they are given details about their procedure and what will be involved in their recovery programme.

Once back on the ward after their operation, patients are encouraged to get out of their beds as quickly as possible, get dressed and take part in a number of exercises and activities which include:

  • Several walks around the ward, following a yellow line on the floor
  • Eating meals, sitting at the table, in a dining room
  • Going to the ward fridge to get drinks rather than relying on nursing staff to bring them to their bed.

When they are discharged, patients are contacted every day by the nurses and they are given access to a 24-hour helpline should they have any problems or concerns.

Hayward and Dawn Gane, the enhanced recovery specialist nurses at Frenchay, said: “Patients tell us that they want to get home as quickly as possible and it really is the best place for them to recuperate after a hospital stay.

“So far around 600 bowel surgery patients have gone through the programme since it was piloted here and we have been really pleased with the results.

The feedback we receive from patients is that they are also pleased and are often pleasantly amazed that they are allowed home so soon after their operations.”

At Southmead, bladder cancer patients are also benefiting from the enhanced recovery programme, although this is less intensive than the one offered at Frenchay due to the more invasive nature of their operations. Average length of stay for these patients has decreased from 14 days to ten days.