Prehabilitation is a specialised exercise and education program tailored to individuals scheduled for surgery or medical procedures. It focuses on enhancing your strength, endurance, flexibility, emotional resilience, and overall health levels prior to your surgery. By improving your physical and mental health, prehabilitation can:

  • Reduce complications by enhancing your body’s ability to handle surgery.
  • Speed up recovery by improving your overall health levels. This will reduce your post-surgery recovery time.
  • Boost confidence through improving your understanding of what will happen before, during and after your procedure. This will increase your mental and emotional preparedness.
  • Reduce stress/anxiety before surgery by enabling you to fully prepare for your time at the hospital, whether that be for a single day, or longer.
  • Enhance quality of life by helping you resume your daily activities more swiftly.

Referral in to the prehabilitation pathway can happen via two main routes. Either:

  • You will be identified as someone that would benefit from prehabilitation via our pre-screening questionnaire, in which case our prehabilitation coordinator will be in touch directly, or,
  • The specialist nurse you talk to at your pre-assessment might suggest a referral into this service. Should you be happy with the referral, it will be submitted.

Should you continue along the pathway at this point, you will receive a personalised plan to help you prepare for surgery. Things that the prehabilitation team might be able to help with can include: cutting down on alcohol; reducing or stopping smoking; improving your physical activity levels; achieving a healthy body weight; eating the best diet; and supporting your mental wellbeing. Every change the team help patients make will improve their readiness for surgery, and ability to recover afterwards.

The plan may include:

  • Aerobic exercises: Walking, cycling, or swimming to improve cardiovascular health.
  • Strength training: Light weights or resistance bands to build muscle strength.
  • Flexibility exercises: Yoga or stretching routines to enhance joint mobility.
  • Breathing exercises: Techniques to improve lung capacity and respiratory function.
  • Mind-Body activities: Relaxation techniques, meditation, or mindfulness to reduce stress.
  • General health advice: Particularly relating to quitting smoking and substance misuse. We can also refer to various other help and support services that can assist with these issues should you agree.

Finally, it is worth noting that regardless of whether you are referred to us or not, anyone undergoing surgery should note that the fitter you are in the runup to surgery, the less likely you are to be cancelled at late notice; the quicker your recovery will be; and the smaller the chance of complications during your procedure.