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28th June 2023 Surgery Outcomes

'My PreHab' having positive impact on surgery patients

Doctor and older person

More than 720 patients are taking advantage of a unique pre-surgery health program that aims to minimise complications and speed up recovery after their surgery.

The program, called ‘My PreHab‘, is helping people scheduled for elective surgery at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and The Queen Elizabeth Hospital use their wait time to get fit and healthy, which then aids post-operative recovery.

The Hospital Research Foundation Group has now committed $400,000 to continue the program for another two years, adding to its initial $190,000 grant last year to get the program off the ground.

Project lead Professor Jane Andrews said patients had found the program to be “excellent”.

“Our message is simple – the healthier you are going into surgery, the stronger you will be coming out,” Prof Andrews said.

“So far we have had 724 patients register for the PreHab program over the past 12 months, where people are screened for modifiable risk factors including smoking, low iron, pain management, alcohol, drugs and medication, frailty, exercise, nutrition, weight issues and emotional wellbeing.

“If people aren’t aware of their risk factors or they find out too close to their surgery, they often aren’t able to do anything about it – but the PreHab program tells you exactly what you can do, with enough time to do it.

“Participants have told us that it makes them feel supported and that they haven’t been forgotten during their wait time. It’s provided the motivation they need to get healthy.”

The program has so far been offered to people undergoing hip and knee replacements, bariatric, complex hernia repair and some cancer surgeries.

“One in five people experience complications from surgery which can result in much longer hospital stays and a potential increased risk of needing readmission,” Prof Andrews said.

“We’re very grateful to The Hospital Research Foundation Group for supporting the initial pilot program and now committing to another two years.”

The ‘My PreHab Program’ has been a collaboration between the Central Adelaide Local Health Network (CALHN) Surgery Program, the Adelaide Primary Healthcare Network, Health Translation South Australia, GPs, medical specialists, nurses, allied health professionals and consumer advocates.

My PreHab is reaching its one-year anniversary and to celebrate, the public is invited to a special information session on 22 August 2023. Learn more and register your interest here.