After 4 years’ research, the Hospital Clínic in Barcelona has implemented a prehabilitation program to reduce complications after surgery and accelerate patient recovery. The goal of this pioneering program is to optimize the physical condition of patients who will undergo surgical intervention. It seeks to improve patients’ functional reserves through a program of tailored physical training and by encouraging physical activity. The program is supplemented with nutritional and psychological support to deal with the stress of the operation.
On April 28th, 2017, the room where this program will take place was inaugurated and baptised the “Rafa Nadal Pre-Habilitation Room” to thank the tennis player for his support in its implementation. Technogym, the official technical supplier of the Rafa Nadal Academy, has signed a partnership agreement with the hospital which has made it possible for the room to be equipped with state-of-the-art technology.
The inauguration was attended by Dr. Josep M. Campistol, general director of the Hospital Clinic; Dr. Graciela Martínez Palli, senior consultant of the Anesthesiology Service and leader of the trimodal preHabilitation program; Dr. Antonio M. Lacy, head of the Gastrointestinal Surgery Department and promoter of the project; Dr. Isabel Sañudo, head of the Rehabilitation Service; Mr. Renato Senta, General Manager of Technogym in Spain; and María Francisca Perelló, representing Rafa Nadal.
Each year, more than 6,000 major interventions are carried out at the Hospital Clínic. Although there have been extraordinary advances in the safety of operations, post-surgical complications have a negative impact on patients’ prognosis, survival and quality of life.
To improve the results of operations it is crucial to identify which patients have an increased risk of potential complications. Thus, strategies can be established to prevent them, treat them at an early stage and reduce their incidence and severity. One of these strategies is prehabilitation, which consists of a set of measures aimed at achieving a better functional capacity for patients who must undergo surgery.
The Hospital Clinic’s tri-modal preHab program, which is named after its three streams (physical training, nutritional support, and psychological support through mindfulness therapy), offers innovative strategies that have not been previously applied before surgical interventions. A previous study conducted by the Clinic group with patients undergoing major abdominal surgery shows that a preoperative 4-week physical training program can reduce the incidence of complications in high-risk patients by as much as 50%. “The goal is for patients to actively participate in their own surgical process, to be committed and prepared, and not only improve in the short term, but also acquire healthy living habits that they can maintain over time “, explains Dr. Graciela Martínez Palli, the promoter of this program.
The preHAB group at the Hospital Clinic has extensive experience in Gastrointestinal Surgery. Now the goal is to serve patients in any surgical specialty. This is a multidisciplinary group, led by anesthesiologists with Anesthesia nursing personnel, physiotherapists, nutritionists and psychologists. In addition, it has the support of other specialists such as surgeons, pulmonologists and cardiologists, who are involved in the entire surgical process.
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