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Studies Reveal: ERAS Programs Help Patients Recover Faster

Recovering from a surgery can be an ordeal. No matter how minor the surgery is, when an incision is performed on the body it takes time to heal and if not taken care of properly, you could end up at the hospital once more.

But that doesn’t have to be the case anymore. A number of hospitals and emergency specialists have now introduced a very important component of the pre and post-surgical procedure aimed towards helping patients prepare better for their surgeries and recuperate swiftly after the operation. The enhanced recovery approach as stated by the researches will help patients improve their surgical recovery experiences and reduce their length of stay in the hospitals as well.

Typical surgical procedures like giving patients powerful anesthesia and narcotics to numb the pain after the surgery and keeping them on an empty stomach before the operation is performed can be very straining physically. Also in recent studies, these typical procedures end up doing more harm than good for the patients leaving their bodies weakened and vulnerable to infections or any other postsurgical complications as well.

The enhanced recovery approach ERA is an evidence based care model that leads to patients being fit and healthy pre and post operation and recover faster from major surgeries as well. ERA includes various clinical elements that are delivered prior and after the surgeries to enhance recovery and shorten the length of stays for patient in the hospital as well.

ERA is applied to the pathway of care for the patients, not just after the surgery when the patient is in recovery stage. The procedures delivered during the care pathway significantly enhance patient outcomes at the same time improving their experiences allowing them to recover quicker. ERA procedures begin by providing patients primary care that optimizes their health prior to the surgery and followed by a very comprehensive pre surgery assessment.

The pre-assessment procedure here focuses mainly on reducing and managing risk for the patients after the surgery. Under the ERA procedures, the patients are physically and also psychologically prepared for their surgeries. Also the social circumstances of the patients are assessed before they are admitted to the hospital for the surgery. These procedures ensure that there will not be any unnecessary emotional or physical stress for the patient and especially no post-surgery surprises. Patient’s education, information, pain relief, nutrition, early mobilization are all part of the procedures followed during the ERA.

Today ERA procedures are being successfully applied to a number of elective surgical pathways in the world such as colorectal, breast, gynecology, musculoskeletal, urology and anesthetics. The procedures on the whole have experienced a major decrease in post-surgical complications, 17% to be more precise and have reduced patient’s length of stay in the hospital by two full days. The percentage of patients developing complications after surgeries has been brought down to 15% from a massive 48% for patients at Duke University successfully.

The shift of major hospitals adopting ERA procedures is well underway and will soon see a major rise in the global percentages as well.  

By: Dr. Tom Macek

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