Think Drink hydration campaign helping patients recover faster from surgery side effects

A hospital's award-winning scheme – which helps patients recover faster from surgery side effects by keeping them hydrated pre-operation – is being shared nationwide.

A hospital's award-winning scheme – which helps patients recover faster from surgery side effects by keeping them hydrated pre-operation – is being shared nationwide.

The Think Drink campaign at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH) has reduced fasting times ahead of surgery from 12 hours to an average of just three and a half hours.

Quicker recovery times

Since the new initiative has launched, patients have reported feeling less nauseous after surgery and staff have noticed they are recovering from the anaesthetic more quickly, as a result of keeping hydrated pre-operation.

The Think Drink team is made up of staff from across NUH including theatre and ward nurses, anaesthetists, surgeons, safety leads and dieticians.

The campaign is now being shared across the NHS nationally, with a new video promoting the benefits of the programme and encouraging other organisations to adopt the same approach.

Watch: How patient feedback reduced patient fasting times before surgery

Maria Shallow, acute pathway lead nurse at NUH said: ‘We founded Think Drink in direct response to wanting to give our patients a better experience and changing the culture of how we prepare our patients for theatre throughout our organisation.


‘I feel immensely proud of what our teams and clinicians have achieved and never thought we would ever see the fasting times reduced from up to 12 hours to just three and a half hours.

‘This project has been a great example of how working together as a multidisciplinary team you can achieve great changes with a determined focus to improve our patient's experience.’

Project leads have developed and introduced guidelines for staff and training on the importance of reducing excessive fasting times.

An approved drinks list has also been developed allowing patients to choose from a wide selection of drinks, instead of just water, including tea, coffee, squash and still energy drinks.

Theatre team feedback

The scheme was developed following feedback collected from theatre teams from patients who underwent surgery.

NUH staff won the Friends and Family Test and Patient Insight Champion award at the 2017 Patient Experience Network Awards for the Think Drink scheme.

Gillian Radcliffe, of NHS England's Insight and Feedback Team, part of the Patient Experience Division, said: ‘Their evaluation already shows that patients are much happier. Not only that, but staff are seeing faster recovery from the anaesthetic, with less nausea.’

She added: ‘The trust's Think Drink project has overturned the old ways of thinking.’

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