Dutch hospital making patients get fit before surgery
Within the next two years, the Radboudumc in Nijmegen will help almost every patient awaiting surgery with physical training, improving their diet, mental counseling, and quitting smoking and alcohol before they go under the knife. This will help patients get through surgery with fewer complications and spend less time recovering in hospital, the hospital said after an experiment, De Gelderlander reports.
Over the past two years, the hospital gave colorectal cancer patients a three to four weeks fitness plan to follow before surgery. The researchers found that patients became so much fitter in those weeks that the number of complications reduced by half. They also on average spent two fewer days in hospital after surgery than the patients who did not complete a fitness program.
Radboudumc, working with health insurers CZ, VGZ, Zilveren Kruis, and Menzis, will now expand its Fit4Surgery program to all surgery patients, starting with cancer patients. Each patient will receive a tailor-made fitness plan to follow in the weeks before their surgery. The idea is that healthcare will ultimately become cheaper as a result.
This is the first time that improving personal health "has been given such a prominent place in the treatment of disease", Radboudumc chairman Bertine Lahuis said to the newspaper. "It enables people to contribute something to the success of an operation."