Hospital Care

Improving physical activity in elderly patients before surgery

Elderly and frail cardiac surgery patients are at often at risk of developing post-operative pulmonary complications, hindering recovery and extending hospital stays.

It is thought that improving an elderly patient’s physical health and strength prior to surgery could reduce the risk of complications post-surgery. This study is set to prove that preoperative exercise has great benefits for post-surgery outcomes.

The study is currently recruiting pre-operative cardiac surgical patients equal or greater than 70 years old who are frail or pre-frail, and providing interventions to improve them physically before surgery. Participants are recruited prior to cardiac surgery and are allocated into a control or an intervention group. The control group receive standard pre-operative education. The intervention group receive standard pre-operative education, and in addition an individually prescribed home exercise program of inspiratory muscle training, upper and lower limb exercises and a home walking program as appropriate for their cardiac condition and other health concerns.

It is believed this pre-operative program will greatly improve post-operative patient outcomes, reduce intensive patient aftercare and potentially decrease, or reduce extended, hospital stays. Patients and patient families will appreciate the benefits both physically and mentally in improved recovery times and a faster return to home and normal life. And, hospitals may experience greater efficiency and cost savings in patient care, allowing more help to be given to the patients on the ward who need it most.

The success of this study could change pre-operative practices for cardiac patients worldwide.

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