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London Bridge Hospital pilots ERAS protocol

London Bridge Hospital is pleased to announce that it is the first of the HCA group tp implement the Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) protocol. Currently being piloted with colorectal surgery patients, ERAS is an evidence-based perioperative care protocol developed by the ERAS society. The protocol describes the care pathway with recommendations for patient care at each of the stages in the operative process: preoperatively, intraoperatively and postoperatively.

ERAS is not so much about researching new processes but about integrating what is already known into current practice. Mr Andrew Williams, Consultant Colorectal & General Surgeon at London Bridge Hospital comments: "Enhanced recovery is not something new, it's not something experimental; it's essentially the gold standard of patient care in the modern medical world."

A change in the expectations of doctors, ward staff and patients is a ncecessity when implementing such a gold standard of care. While traditionally patients are dependent on medical staff for their recovery, the ERAS programme is based on giving them the authority and responsibility for many of the key areas of focus of their recovery - such as mobilisation, deep breathing exercises, and eating and drinking. With colorectal patients, these points are imperative in getting the bowel working again, which is crucial in speeding up recovery and discharge.

The ERAS programme begins at the very start of the patient pathway with a pre-assessment. It is at this first point of contact that the patient's expectations can begin to be managed. From then on, Mr Williams explains, "every element of the patient's journey is subtly optimised to improve recovery." A multidisciplinary team is brought in to target and optimise each element with input from nurses, dieticians, physiotherapists and pharmacists.

One of the key benefits of the ERAS programme is that it provides medical staff with standardised markers by which to recognise a patient's progress. Mr Williams elaborates: "The beauty and the strength of the enhanced recovery programme is that it provides a general protocol for everybody - so while the patient's care is bespoke according to their medical needs, there are standard  points to the package which are universal for all. Any nurse, any physio, knows exactly what the patient's expectations are at each point; likewise, the patient knows what they should be achieving and what their targets are."

Ultimately, the ERAS protocol gives medical staff an increased insight into, and much closer control of, the patient's recovery, making the process easier to analyse and refine so as to improve care outcomes. Mr Williams explains, "when you start looking at your results and start challenging them, your results get better and your quality of care improves. If you don't keep moving forward and looking to the future then you don't improve. Therefore, having assigned control of a patient's day-to-day condition is crucial. That fact that we now have these targets and a framework means we can see what is working and use this knowledge to benefit other patients."

For more information on ERAS, please contact Emily Mayer, Marketing Coordinator on 0207 234 2630
To book a consultation please visit www.londonbridgehospital.com or call 0844 800 0696