Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) standardizes care before, during and after surgery. ERAS helps patients get back on their feet quicker while shortening hospital stays and reducing surgical complications. The implementation of ERAS in Alberta is sponsored by the Surgery Strategic Clinical Network (Surgery SCN™).
Each year, more than 280,000 surgeries are performed across Alberta at 55 surgical sites. The Surgery SCN is dedicated to making surgical care in our province efficient and sustainable.
Drawing from best practices and evidence from around the world, ERAS improves patient care related to nutrition, mobility after surgery, fluid management, anesthesia and pain control. ERAS also makes patients part of the team by involving them in preparation for their surgery and post-operative recovery. It aims to help patients stay strong, improve outcomes, reduce complications and create a better patient experience.
ERASAlberta brings physicians and clinical care teams together to implement ERAS international guidelines at local sites. Each guideline specifies protocols for patient care to be used for an elective surgery. For example; Colorectal surgery, Pancreas surgery and Cystectomy surgery have international guidelines that are being followed at some sites in Alberta. This involves changes to surgical practices, nursing care and quality improvements that benefit patients.
After major surgery, ERAS colorectal patients in Alberta were found to experience less major surgical, lung, and heart problems, with better outcomes and savings to the healthcare system. The six original implementation sites in Edmonton and Calgary have shown ERAS colorectal patients are discharged up to an average of 2.3 days sooner than non-ERAS patients. Between 2013 and 2015, ERAS colorectal implementation demonstrated conservative realized net savings of $3.6 million; a gain four times greater than the implementation investment.
In 2016, Rockyview General Hospital, Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre and Chinook Regional Hospital became approved ERAS implementation sites, allowing more Albertans to benefit from this innovative approach to surgical care. Large urban hospitals, like Foothills Medical Centre, Royal Alexandra Hospital and the University of Alberta Hospital, along with the Rockyview General Hospital and the Misericordia Community Hospital, are currently implementing multiple ERAS guidelines.
Watch: Benefits of the Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) Project (AHSChannel – YouTube)
A test of elective colorectal ERAS began at Calgary’s Peter Lougheed Centre (PLC) and Edmonton’s Grey Nuns Community Hospital in 2013. Since then the implementation of ERAS has expanded to include seven other major surgical sites in Alberta.
ERAS represents some changes to surgical practices and nursing care. It also places the patient first and makes each person an active participant in the outcomes. Increasing knowledge and gaining new skills are key factors in making changes that will become routine for clinicians, care providers and patients.
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