Get­ting fit for surgery in care plan

Whanganui Midweek - - COMMUNITY LINK -

Whanganui Dis­trict Health Board (WDHB) and Sport Whanganui have launched a Fit for Surgery, Fit for Life pro­gramme to help pa­tients lose weight and im­prove fit­ness be­fore elec­tive surgery.

Led by WDHB head anaes­thetist Marco Meijer, the pro­gramme was de­vel­oped with Sport Whanganui. Over­weight pa­tients risk de­vel­op­ing med­i­cal com­pli­ca­tions, in­clud­ing slow re­cov­ery af­ter gen­eral anaes­thetic, blood clots, breath­ing dif­fi­cul­ties, wound in­fec­tions and com­pli­ca­tions with pain re­lief, dur­ing and af­ter surgery. Dr Meijer es­tab­lished a project group to de­velop a pro­gramme with long-term ben­e­fits for pa­tients.

“The aim of the pro­gramme is a life­style change that will see sig­nif­i­cantly over­weight pa­tients re­duce their weight and lift their fit­ness lev­els for surgery while con­tin­u­ing to main­tain these changes for the rest of their life,” Dr Meijer says. Hos­pi­tal staff and GPs re­fer pa­tients to Sport Whanganui where Fit for Surgery, Fit for Life nav­i­ga­tor and nurse Chris­tine Tay­lor as­sesses them and de­vel­ops in­di­vid­ual care plans.

This re­sults in fewer com­pli­ca­tions post-surgery, and pos­si­bly re­duced hos­pi­tal stays. Dr Meijer says ideally, once a pa­tient em­barks on the pro­gramme they may not need surgery.

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