Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS)

ERAS has introduced new and consistent ways of managing care before, during and after surgery to help patients stay strong and get back to their normal self as quickly as possible.

The goal of ERAS is to improve the patient’s overall experience, decrease their time in hospital and reduce complications and readmission rates. This is achieved through changes to: nutrition, mobilization, anaesthesia, and pain management.

ERAS challenges traditional surgical care in Alberta by introduced new protocols that draw from best practices around the world. Most important, ERAS involves the patient and family in understanding and taking part in their care to promote recovery.

The DON SCN has been leading the implementation of ERAS in colorectal surgery and is working with the Surgery SCN to eventually apply ERAS across all sites and relevant surgical procedures across Alberta.

AHS Implementation of ERAS for Colorectal Surgery

Phase 1 implementation (August 2013)

  • Grey Nuns Community Hospital (Edmonton)
  • Peter Lougheed Hospital (Calgary)

Phase 2 implementation (March 2014)

  • University of Alberta Hospital (Edmonton)
  • Royal Alexandra Hospital (Edmonton)
  • Misericordia Community Hospital (Edmonton)

Phase 3 implementation (May 2014)

  • Foothills Medical Centre (Calgary)


Internationally, ERAS has reduced hospital stays by several days and decreased complications and readmission rates after surgery by up to 50 per cent.

As of January 2015; the ERAS protocols have been applied to over 1000 patients having colorectal surgery in Edmonton and Calgary. Early data from the six pilot sites shows patients are feeling better sooner. The average length of stay in the hospital has decreased by more than 3 days.

Future ERAS Implementation

A Partnership for Research and Innovation in Health System (PRIHS) research grant from Alberta Innovates Health Solutions was recently awarded to the Surgery SCN and Drs. Leah Gramlich and Gregg Nelson for Enhancing Patients' Recovery After Surgery (ERAS): Strategy to Transform Care and Maximize Value. This research grant will support the spread of ERAS to other sites and other surgical areas.

The ERAS project will transfer over to the Surgery SCN in April 2015.