Before surgery, even minor adjustments to diet, exercise, and mental health could help people go home from the hospital sooner, according to a study by Michael Englesbe, MD; Stewart Wang, MD, PhD, FACS; and others. The study, published in Surgery, found that basic fitness and wellness coaching, administered in advance, may reduce a surgical patient’s average hospital stay two days and cut medical costs 30 percent.
The researchers say such measures should be just as crucial as others that are addressed in the admittance process.
The study marks the third time Englesbe and Wang have examined the idea of athletic training applied to surgical preparation, which they call “prehab.” Hospitalization times and cost savings were consistent among the analyses.
Each review fol-lowed the Michigan Surgical and Health Optimization Program (MSHOP), an initiative aimed at helping patients target and strengthen weaknesses before surgery. A web-based risk assessment tool using a person’s existing data enables shared decision-making between the patient and physician and helps identify patients who will best benefit from MSHOP.
Elements of the program include improving diet, reducing stress, breathing exercises, smoking cessation, and, most crucial, an emphasis on light physical activity.
Program facilitators crafted reminders with positive, natural-sounding language to make them personal and more effective.
That way, “the patient feels like someone is actually paying attention to them,” said June Sullivan, MSHOP’s technology director.
“And, they respond with things like ‘This is a great program’ or ‘Sorry I didn’t do well today—I’ll try harder.’”
This article was adapted from information provided by Michigan Medicine – University of Michigan. Icons: Shutterstock.com/Olegro.
Resources for Wounded Veterans
On November 11, the United States celebrates Veterans Day to recognize veterans for their service to their country. In honor of the holiday, these resources can help veterans access services, acquire devices, or find available benefits.
VA Clothing Allowance for Service-related Disability
Veterans who have unique clothing needs due to a service-related disability or injury may receive a supplement to their disability compensation. The clothing allowance reimburses you if your clothing gets permanently damaged by a prosthesis or orthosis you wear, or by a prescribed medication you use on your skin. If eligible, you can receive a one-time or yearly allowance.
Visit www.va.gov for other benefits for which you may qualify.
Cohen Veterans Network
The mission of this private organization is to assist veterans and their families who are living with mental and physical scars from military service. It seeks to provide high-quality, accessible, and integrated mental healthcare through client-centered, customized outpatient services.
The Independence Fund
The Independence Fund’s mission is to support service-injured veterans with tools to achieve independence and freedom. Programs include helping veterans obtain devices such as all-terrain wheelchairs and adaptive bicycles.
These resources are offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs and private organizations.