By ERAS Coordinator Allie Wilson, BSN, RNBC
“You need surgery.”
Hearing these words from your doctor may prompt fear and concern about what’s to come — worry about pain and side effects, hospitalization duration, recovery time and infection risk.
To help ease this stress and ensure patients have the best possible surgery outcome, Sarasota Memorial launched its Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) program in 2018. Aiming to optimize the surgical journey for each patient, ERAS combines protocols from various medical disciplines and prescribes them before, during and after surgery.
Benefits of ERAS Enrollment
The Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) program aims to ensure the best possible surgical outcomes for patients. Benefits of participating in the ERAS program include:
- Shorter hospital stay
- Less reliance on narcotic medication
- Fewer side effects (nausea/vomiting and constipation) from opioid medications
- Reduced fatigue after surgery
- Faster recovery
- Resume normal activities sooner
- Improved quality of life
- Less likely to be re-admitted or have complications
For example, ERAS pathways typically include:
- Pre-operative patient education. We know that an informed patient is an empowered patient, and ERAS pre-op classes arm them with the information they need to have a successful surgery, easier recovery and the best possible long-term outcome.
- Pre-op physical conditioning. To prepare the body for surgery, customized ERAS pathways optimize a patient’s nutrition, breathing and physical activity in the weeks leading up to the procedure.
- Carb-loading. By consuming a special, carbohydrate-loading drink prior to surgery, patients reduce their risk of post-operative nausea/vomiting and surgical-site infections.
- Specific pain management protocols. The ERAS program supports the judicious use of opioid medications — both intra-operatively and post-operatively — for pain management. Reduced use of narcotic medications means fewer side effects like nausea/vomiting and fatigue after surgery and during recovery.
- Early ambulation after surgery. The sooner that a patient can walk without assistance after surgery and has tubes and drains removed, the shorter their hospital stay and recovery will be — and the faster their return to normal activities.
ERAS Goals & Benefits
Evidence-based ERAS protocols are designed to decrease patients’ length of hospital stay, opioid use, readmissions, complications and mortality. The pathways also have the potential to improve patient quality of life. Factors such as earlier resumption of normal activities, reduced need for daytime sleep, reduced fatigue, and reduced number of days that patients require sick leave have all been reported in patients enrolled in the ERAS program.
Who’s Eligible for ERAS?
ERAS pathways are available for surgeries within the following SMH service lines: bariatrics, colorectal care, colorectal oncology, gynecologic oncology, gynecology, obstetrics for scheduled C-sections and thoracic care; soon it also will be available for mastectomy patients.
Surgical patients do not have to meet any certain criteria to take advantage of the ERAS program; they simply have to be enrolled by their surgeon.
ERAS at SMH
To learn more about Sarasota Memorial’s ERAS program, reach out to our ERAS program coordinator by calling 941-917-7585 or emailing ERASRN@smh.com.
Allie Wilson, BSN, RN-BC, is the clinical program coordinator for Sarasota Memorial’s ERAS program. A graduate of Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, La., Allie developed the Enhanced Recovery After Surgery program at SMH in 2018, and since then has helped many patients create better surgical outcomes.