A comprehensive health and wellbeing programme for patients due to have major surgery has been made a reality thanks to a £75,000 grant from the Health Foundation.
The PREPWELL programme is being launched at Middlesbrough’s Live Well Centre thanks to a unique partnership between South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Public Health (Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland) and South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group, who have all contributed additional funds to the project.
Believed to be the first collaborative venture of its kind, a team of doctors, physiotherapists, exercise scientists, public health specialists and Allied Healthcare Professionals will be working together in a bid to improve patient health and wellbeing prior to surgery.
This community-based programme will enable patients to undertake pre-operative fitness training in addition to receiving other lifestyle support in a supervised environment for six weeks prior to surgery. All services will be available in one facility, creating a one-stop environment to support patients.
Project Lead Professor Gerard Danjoux, a Consultant Anaesthetist at The James Cook University Hospital, said: “The aim of the PREPWELL project is to get patients fitter for surgery through supported lifestyle changes and early identification and treatment of chronic health conditions.
“This should lead to patients being better prepared for surgery, leading to a lower risk of complications and quicker recovery.
“A number of factors can increase patient risks with surgery including inactivity, smoking, excess alcohol consumption, malnourishment, anaemia, frailty and obstructive sleep apnoea.
“The present surgical pathway often allows insufficient time for these problems to be identified and treated before surgery. PREPWELL provides an opportunity for risk factors to be managed earlier in the pathway in addition to providing tailored support and self-help opportunities for patients.
“Better health before surgery is a major component of a quick and complete recovery for patients. This in turn enables patients to regain their independence and activities of daily living at an earlier stage. We are delighted to have the opportunity to run this project in South Tees, which will initially be trialled for up to 100 patients over a 12-month period.”
Esther Carr, PREPWELL Project Manager, said: “If your surgeon, anaesthetist or GP feels that there are things that can be done to improve how well you can recover from your operation they can refer you to the PREPWELL programme.
“This is a really exciting project that could make a big difference to patients across the South Tees area. Patients undergoing various types of operation will be able to access the service and should ask their GP or hospital team about being referred if they are interested.”
Prof Danjoux added: “It’s about providing care closer to home, supporting self-management and educating people in an interactive way. It’s a great way to improve health and wellbeing and chances of successful outcome. We also hope this will provide a platform for patients to make longer-term lifestyle improvements.”
South Tees was selected by the Health Foundation, an independent health and health care charity, to be part of its £1.5 million innovation programme Innovating for Improvement. The programme is supporting 21 health care projects across the UK with the aim of improving health care delivery and the way people manage their own health care through the redesign of processes, practices and services.