Nurses help reduce readmission rates for bowel surgery patients

Post-operative support programme speeds up patients' healing and mobilisation

A targeted recovery programme for patients following bowel surgery has reduced readmission rates and time spent in hospital.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust introduced the colorectal enhanced recovery programme at the end of 2011 and it has helped more than 1,000 patients to date.

The average length of stay for colorectal surgery patients at Pilgrim Hospital in Boston has fallen from 12.10 days in 2011 to 9.38 days since the programme was introduced. The readmission rate has also gone down from 41% to 16%.

Most patients are now admitted on the day of surgery, rather than the previous day, so do not have to fast for as long before surgery, and the number of patients admitted on the day of surgery has increased from 33% to 97%.

A trust spokesperson said this helps reduce the stress patients experience in the run-up to their operation.

Following surgery, patients are allowed food to promote healing in the first stages of recovery and are given support to get up and walk around, which reduces the possibility of complications.

Once patients have been discharged they will receive daily telephone calls from colorectal nurses for 14 days post-surgery to help monitor their recovery.

Colorectal nurse Sarah Hill said the overwhelming response has been positive. ‘The programme has been a huge success and now the majority of patients who require a bowel resection are cared for in this new way.

‘We hold an annual patient experience event for those patients who have been though the programme, so that we can learn from their experiences and make further improvements.’