What does the term ‘enhanced recovery’ mean?

Enhanced recovery is the name given to a programme that aims to get you back to your normal health as quickly as possible after a major operation. Hospital staff look at all the evidence of what you and they can do before, during and after your surgery to help give you the best chances for a quick and full recovery. This should get you home sooner.

The programmes will vary depending on what operation you are having and which hospital you are being treated at, but may include:

  • improving your fitness levels before your operation if there is enough time
  • treating any other long-term medical conditions
  • reducing the time you fast by giving you water and carbohydrate drinks before your surgery
  • giving you medication to prevent sickness after surgery
  • considering the best ways of giving pain relief during the operation
  • using local anaesthetic blocks or regional anaesthetics where possible
  • giving you the best pain relief afterwards to get you moving quicker
  • encourage you to Drink, Eat and Mobilise within 24 hours of surgery (DrEaMing)
  • reducing the time you have catheters and drips
  • teaching you exercises to help you recover after your operation.

By following an enhanced recovery programme, there are usually fewer complications after surgery. There is also less chance of you needing to go back into hospital again.