NUH initiative to improve patients’ surgery experience rolled out nationally

Award winning work by staff at Nottingham University Hospital is now being shared across the NHS nationally, with a new video promoting the benefits of the programme and encouraging other organisations to adopt the same approach.  

The Think Drink project is the first of its kind in the UK and was developed following feedback collected from theatre teams from patients who underwent surgery.

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Since the new initiative has launched patients have reported feeling less nauseas after surgery and staff have noticed they are recovering from the anaesthetic more quickly, as a result of keeping hydrated pre-operation.

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Maria Shallow, Acute Pathway Lead Nurse at NUH said: “We founded ‘Think Drink’ in direct response to wanting to give our patients a better experience and changing the culture of how we prepare our patients for theatre throughout our organisation.

“I feel immensely proud of what our teams and clinicians have achieved and never thought we would ever see the fasting times reduced from up to 12 hours to just three and a half hours. This project has been a great example of how working together as a multidisciplinary team you can achieve great changes with a determined focus to improve our patient’s experience.”

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The Think Drink team is made up of staff from across NUH including anaesthetists, surgeons, theatre and ward nurses, safety leads and dieticians, the project leads have developed and introduced guidelines for staff to enhance decision making, as well as education and training on the importance of reducing excessive fasting times.

An approved drinks list has also been developed allowing patients to choose from a wide selection of drinks, instead of just water, including tea, coffee, squash and still energy drinks.

Gillian Radcliffe, of NHS England’s Insight & Feedback Team, part of the Patient Experience Division, said: “Their (NUH’s) evaluation already shows that patients are much happier. Not only that, but staff are seeing faster recovery from the anaesthetic, with less nausea.

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She added: “The trust’s Think Drink project has overturned the old ways of thinking and reduced fasting times that were typically between nine to 12 hours down to just over three hour.”

NUH staff won the Friends and Family Test and Patient Insight Champion award, at the 2017 Patient Experience Network Awards.

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