PrEPPing for health promotion during recovery

Les knew the risks were high when he needed complex abdominal surgery to remove a rare form of cancer.

“I was told it would change my life a lot,” says Les, who underwent a procedure called Whipple surgery to remove part of his pancreas, small intestine and gallbladder and rebuild his bile ducts.

“I knew the surgery would be long and risky, so I was nervous. I didn’t even know if I would wake up.”

after turning 70th Les, who celebrated his birthday earlier this month, is in good spirits and well again, having attended a PrEPP clinic at Nepean Hospital.

PrEPP stands for Pre-operative Education and Prehabilitation Program and is available to select abdominal and thoracic surgical patients in the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District.

By attending the clinic, Les was prepared for surgery with personalized care from a dedicated, multidisciplinary team.

Depending on the patient’s needs, this team may include a geriatrician, nutritionist, pain specialist, pharmacist, physical therapist, and social worker.

“Because of the length of the surgery, I basically had to learn how to breathe again, so a lot of the exercises involved training my lungs to recover,” says Les.

“I also needed weights, squats and chair exercises to strengthen my legs.”

William Lai, resident physiotherapist in charge of the PrePP program at Nepean Hospital, explains:Prehabilitation” aims to enhance the patient’s physical and psychological functioning in the pre-operative period and to assist in coping with surgical interventions.

“Some patients come to Nepean Hospital from the western state of Orange, so we provide a comprehensive initial assessment that is usually in-person, but telemedicine also provides,” says William.

“We then educate them on how to prepare for surgery and provide appropriate interdisciplinary support. program is also included.

recently published research Here are some of the program’s benefits from the PrePP team at Nepean Hospital. The patient’s need for long-term ventilation is greatly reduced, shortening the average length of hospital stay.

Patient feedback on the program also highlights that the social aspect of the clinic is beneficial to the overall experience.

“Being here at the gym has given me confidence,” Les says.

“William has introduced me to other people who have had surgery and helped me understand what life would be like on the other side.

“Patients are free to participate in a series of surgical procedures, to talk to each other, to share their experiences and thoughts,” says William Lai.

After prehabilitation and surgery, patients like Leslie continue to participate in home and hospital-based rehabilitation services.

Without Jim, I wouldn’t have recovered so well. And I think having all these people looking after you gives you confidence,” Les says.

“I feel great now and I always try to make the most of it.” PrEPPing for health promotion during recovery

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