Transforming pre-operative care and enhancing surgical preparation

The Pre-Operative Assessment team has announced the launch of two new initiatives that will enhance patient care along the elective pathway and boost the efficiency of theatres by reducing last minute cancellations.

A new pre-operative assessment (POA) system is being trialled, which aims to meet the national goal of changing our “surgical waiting lists” into “surgical preparation lists” and ensuring that patients are ready for their procedure.

This system enables early screening of patients for various co-morbidities, providing our healthcare professionals with valuable insights earlier in the patient pathway. “By identifying potential complications in advance, we can tailor our treatment plans, ensuring a more precise and effective approach to patient care”, said Dr Ruth De Las Casas, Consultant Anaesthetist.

“We are excited to introduce the digital pre-operative assessment, which will empower our healthcare teams with comprehensive information to optimise patients in the run up to surgery,” said Adam Barker, Digital POA Project Manager. “We will also be able to direct patients to the appropriate type of pre-assessment for their procedure and risk factors, thereby streamlining POA capacity at NNUH.

Lisa Smith, Matron for DPU, SDAU and POA added: “This initiative reflects our commitment to meeting the targets set by NHS England for the elective recovery programme and ensuring we get the right patient, the right treatment at the right time.”

In addition to the Digital Pre-operative Assessment, we are introducing a range of prehabilitation pathways designed to prepare patients for surgery and support their recovery journey. The pre-habilitation scheme focuses on assisting patients with the steps that improve physical and mental health before an operation and can help the patient have a shorter hospital stay and better outcomes post-operatively. This involves identifying the various risk factors that a patient may be exposed to before or leading up to the date of their procedure.

Helen Lawn, Clinical Lead for POA, said: “By offering personalised prehabilitation plans, we aim to improve patients’ overall well-being, reduce recovery time, and enhance their quality-of-life post-surgery”.

“Our prehabilitation pathways emphasise the importance of proactive patient care, focusing on both preparation and recovery,” said Kim Plumb, Prehabilitation Co-ordinator. “By empowering our patients with the knowledge and tools they need, we are paving the way for smoother surgical experiences and improved outcomes.”

Kim highlighted the holistic nature of the care, and how she does her best to ensure that the patients all receive the correct guidance to fit their specific needs. “The three main areas we aim to encourage and promote are good nutrition, physical activity and psychological support,” she said.

“We contact the patients to ensure that they are healthy both physically and mentally and provide holistic support to get them on the pathway to recovery as soon as possible.

“Issues such as smoking, alcoholism and obesity, remain some of the common obstacles a patient may face when leading up to their operation, and making sure that they know they have our help and support with these issues is a big part of my job.”

The projects are currently being trialed with Urology patients and will be looking to launch across the remaining surgical specialties after the pilot has concluded.