Fab Change Day – Enhanced Recovery Team helps patients get home sooner

Jo Hartley, Lead Enhanced Recovery Nurse

Jo Hartley, Lead Enhanced Recovery Nurse

Innovative techniques employed by the Enhanced Recovery Team at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals are helping patients to leave hospital sooner and recover at home.

As part of Fab Change Day – a national day of collective action for staff within the NHS on October 19 – we are highlighting the Enhanced Recovery Team as a great example of clinicians making positive changes for patients.

Patients are spending less time in hospital due to a team approach in following enhanced patient pathways. As a result of this patients are able to be discharged from hospital more quickly.

The Enhanced Recovery Team also endeavours to pre-empt any issues that may arise at the pre-operative and post-operative stages to ensure patients have a smooth discharge from hospital. Patients and carers are asked to actively agree to participate in their enhanced recovery pathway.

Paula Vernon, Clinical Matron for the team, said: “This is a highly effective team that works towards bringing the specialist teams and their knowledge together to transform the delivery of care.

“The team works hard to reduce length of stay, to get patients home earlier and to prevent unnecessary readmissions.

“Patients are telephoned at home and advised about painkillers, nausea or their bowel movements and exercise. Patients are supported with any concerns they may have.

“Having someone to talk to helps to prevent readmissions and helps identify any issues that may require exploring further. This follow up service helps the hospital to review patient’s perspectives about the service we deliver and helps us target changes required to make any future improvements.

Paula Vernon, Clinical Matron for the team

Paula Vernon, Clinical Matron for the team

“We need to make sure that any existing conditions that patients may have are controlled and monitored both pre and post-operatively. Post-operatively, we make sure patients can get up and move more quickly and that they can resume eating and drinking as quickly as possible.

“We set physical targets for physiotherapy and walking. This helps patients focus on the targets they are currently managing and what they need to improve on. Through involving the patients before surgery they are motivated to achieve the goals set out in the pathway.

“This team audits every part of the patient pathway. The team is very effective and has presented the benefits of collaboration of team working to enhance patient recovery at nationally at conferences.”

Mr Jonathan Heath is the Lead Consultant Surgeon and Dr David Hume is the Lead Consultant Anaesthetist for general surgery. Mr Anthony Walker is the Lead Consultant Surgeon and Dr Helen Saunders is the Lead Consultant Anaesthetist for the Lancashire Cardiac Centre.


Sister Jo Hartley is the Lead Enhanced Recovery Nurse for the team based at Blackpool Victoria Hospital. Sister Caroline Costello has started a secondment with the team to assist in rolling out the enhanced recovery programme within the cardiac centre. The nurses work with various teams and individuals such as consultants, anaesthetists, allied health professionals and nurses to reduce length of stay and unnecessary readmissions.

Paula added: “The team is about to start trialling a telemedicine system and will be using i-Pads to complete follow-ups with patients.

“This also means patients don’t have to return unnecessarily to hospital to be seen by clinicians.

“The team is constantly looking at new ways to enhance the recovery of patients and reduce length of stay.”


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