Surgical patients in Stockport benefit from project to improve their recovery after operations

Surgical patients at Stepping Hill are benefiting from a project to help and improve their recovery and go home sooner after their operations.

Known as ERAS + (for ‘Enhanced Recovery After Surgery’), the initiative has surgical medical, nursing and physiotherapy staff working together to ensure the patient is in the best physical shape possible both before and after major abdominal surgery.

As well as encouraging more physical activity before and after their operation, the program encourages lifestyle modifications such as smoking, alcohol and nutrition advice, together with more specialised steps such as muscle strengthening, oral hygiene and breathing exercises.

One patient who has benefitted is Chris Arnfield, 68 , a retired insurance underwriter from Romiley in Stockport.  Chris was diagnosed with rectal cancer last June, and had to have bowel surgery to treat the condition.

He took part in the programme straight after surgery, with physiotherapy and walking exercises getting him back on his feet sooner. He was back at home after nine days after surgery; prior to Eras+ the recovery time would more typically have been 12 days.

Chris said: “During my stay of nine days after an eight hour operation, I was struck by the sheer professionalism, dedication beyond duty and the genuine concern for patients welfare at all levels, from the cleaners right up to the consultant surgeons.

“As well as being happy with their care, I was very glad to be one of the first patients at the hospital taking part in the ERAS + programme too.  This really helped with my recovery, and meant I was able to get home sooner to see my family.”

Pictured Chris Arnfield with Emma Dale, ERAS+ Specialist Nurse at Stepping Hill Hospital.

Other patients are also referred for a pre and postoperative exercise program provided by local sport and fitness service Life Leisure.

The programme was initially developed by Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) and championed by Dr John Moore, Consultant in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine. MFT has secure further funded through a Health Foundation Grant to roll this improvement programme out across Greater Manchester as part of the Healthier Together implementation work. Health Innovation Manchester are working with NHS Trusts across Greater Manchester to spread the programme so more patients can benefit from

The initial pilot at Manchester Royal Infirmary showed surgical patients having a 50% reduction in pulmonary (chest) complications following major surgery.

Emma Dale, ERAS+ Specialist Nurse at Stepping Hill Hospital, said: “This programme is proving very popular with post-surgical patients at the hospital, because they can see the really positive impact it is making on their recovery.

“Improving recovery time is good for both the quality of life of the patient involved, and for our local health services as a whole; helping the flow of patients through the hospital and our use of resources.”