Enhanced recovery

Enhanced recovery is a new, evidence-based approach that helps people recover more quickly after having major surgery.

Information written and reviewed by Certified Doctors.

Contents

Introduction

Enhanced recovery is a new, evidence-based approach that helps people recover more quickly after having major surgery.

Sometimes referred to as rapid or accelerated recovery, 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 often 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, eating and drinking after having an operation, the shorter their recovery time will be.

The enhanced recovery programme

As part of the enhanced recovery programme, you will be able to play an active role in your care. With help and advice from your doctor and healthcare team, you will be able to choose what is best for you throughout your treatment.

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
  • relax – try to relax and not worry about your operation
  • smoking and alcohol – giving up or cutting down will help your recovery and reduce your risk of developing complications

Your doctor will advise you about how you can get into the best possible shape prior to surgery. They will identify and stabilise any health conditions you have that may affect the operation.

At this stage, your doctor will 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 will be improved due to high quality care and, where possible, high quality services, such as keyhole surgery.

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

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

Finding out more

Speak to your doctor if you are considering having planned surgery. They will advise you about whether enhanced recovery is suitable for you. Not all hospitals offer enhanced recovery programmes, but the number that do is growing all the time.

Content supplied by NHS Choices