Before patients are brought to the operating room for colorectal surgery, health experts are first bringing them to the classroom.
“They come in for the class so that they know what to expect on their surgery day and we talk about ways to optimize their body to get their body ready for the surgery,” said Jenna Walker, an ERAS educator with Lee Health.
The ERAS class stands for enhanced recovery after surgery. Studies show patients who take the class are better prepared for surgery and spend less time in the hospital after surgery. “On the average colorectal surgery before ERAS, the average length of stay was seven days here at Gulf Coast. We’ve actually reduced that to 4.3 days,” said Walker.
Experts spend 90 minutes discussing the nutrition, exercise, and medication patients will need before and after surgery. “We learn about nutrition and exercises. They’re required to do exercise for 30 minutes a day for 14 days prior to surgery. We also learn how to do a spirometer to exercise their lungs,” said Walker.
Patients also learn which foods to have and to avoid before and after surgery. “We try to encourage a healthy diet, high in protein and low in processed foods,” said Walker.
Patients who are well nourished before surgery have a better recovery. “The more participation we get from the patients, the more compliant they are, they better they’re going to do after surgery,” said Walker.
Knowing what to expect after surgery allows patients to be involved in their recovery. “Knowledge is power. After they’ve sat through the class most of my patients are much more relaxed about the idea of coming in. As relaxed as you can be for surgery,” said Walker.
Teaching patients how to be healthy before surgery allows them to have a faster and easier recovery after surgery.
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Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health - Caring People. Inspiring Care.