Enhanced Recovery After Surgery

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Helping to Improve Your Recovery

Enhanced recovery is a modern, evidence-based approach that helps people recover more quickly after having major surgery. Many hospitals have an enhanced recovery programme in place, and it's now seen as standard practice following surgery.

Enhanced recovery aims to ensure that patients:
  • Are as healthy as possible before receiving treatment.
  • Receive the best possible care during their operation.
  • Receive the best possible care while recovering.

Having an operation can be both physically and emotionally stressful. Enhanced recovery programmes try to get you back to full health as quickly as possible.

Research has shown the earlier a person gets out of bed and starts walking after having an operation, the shorter their recovery time will be.

As part of the enhanced recovery programme, you'll be able to play an active role in your care. You'll be able to choose what's best for you throughout your treatment with help and advice from your GP and healthcare team.

Important points to consider before your operation include:

  • Eating well – your body will need energy for repair.
  • Exercise – keeping physically active before your operation will help you recover quicker.
  • Relaxation – try to relax and not worry about your operation.
  • Smoking and alcohol – giving up or cutting down will help speed up your recovery and reduce your risk of developing complications

Your GP will give you advice about getting into the best possible shape prior to surgery. They'll also identify and stabilise any health conditions you have that may affect the operation.

At this stage, your GP should ensure you understand all the treatment options available to you, so you can make an informed decision about whether to proceed with surgery.

Your overall experience should be improved due to high-quality care and, where possible, high-quality services, such as keyhole surgery.

Following surgery, you'll also have access to rehabilitation services such as physiotherapy. This will help speed up your recovery and enable you to be discharged from hospital as soon as possible so that you can return to normal life.

Depending on your operation, you may be able to go home sooner than usually expected. It's therefore important to plan and prepare for your return home before you go into hospital.

(NHS Choices)

Oxford Upper GI Approach

The OUH project started in October 2011 with funding from NHS South Central to introduce an Upper Gastrointestinal Enhanced Recovery Programme to enhance the quality of care delivered to patients undergoing oesophagogastric cancer surgery.

Our programme aims are :

  • To introduce into routine practice the principles of enhanced recovery to the pre-operative, peri-operative and post-operative periods.
  • To establish appropriate protocols for enhanced recovery, including patient information and documentation.
  • To optimise patient preparation for surgery, through patient education and partnership, stabilisation of nutritional state and inspiratory muscle training.
  • To reduce post-surgery complications, including a reduced incidence and severity of pulmonary complications.
  • To reduce re-admission rates to the intensive care unit and also to reduce the length of hospital stay.
  • To enhance patient expectation and satisfaction with care.
  • To enhance an improvement in the use of hospital resources and therefore cost-savings to the Trust.


  • Integrated care pathway created
  • Iterative refinements to pathway

Oxfordshire Oesophageal and Stomach Organisation (OOSO) helped to set up the programme and will continue to support it using funds raised from the John O’Groats to Land’s End sponsored bike ride.

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