Trial gets patients home safer and sooner after surgery

A successful new model of care resulting in a dramatic 50% reduction in complications for patients following surgery will help tackle a growing problem.  

The model, Advanced Recovery Room Care (ARRC), provides support for 12-24 hours after surgery and is able to detect problems on the spot, helping patients to recover faster and return home sooner. 

This innovation in care will be on the agenda at a national meeting of leading health professionals in Adelaide in July 2023 discussing the issue of post-surgery complications. 

The hidden pandemic

With an ageing population with rising rates of disease, the risk of complications after surgery is climbing at a rate of around 10% per year.  

For Professor Guy Ludbrook, Director of PARC Clinical Research at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, this problem is a ‘pandemic’ of its own.  

“Surgery is needed for about a third of all cases. So, if we don’t address this problem, not enough people are going to be able to access the surgery they need,” he said. 

A precise solution

In the ARRC model, patients are closely monitored for 12-24 hours by a diverse team of doctors, nurses, and physiotherapists who work using more frequent ward rounds and observations.  

On a usual ward, one nurse looks after each 10 patients, but with ARRC, there is one nurse for every two patients. 

The result is a staggering 50% reduction in complications after surgery. 

“If we look after you and get everything – blood pressure, pulse, fluids – exactly right, problems don’t occur while you’re in hospital,” said Professor Ludbrook on the Research Pulse podcast.

“It’s an enormous decrease in major, and potentially serious, complications.”

By providing more efficient care, and getting patients home sooner in a safe manner, the hospital can free up 40 beds per day, for every 10 beds in ARRC – providing more opportunity for people to access the surgery they need. 

Much more to come

ARRC arose after a previous national meeting of leading minds in the field, who recommended eight guiding principles to tackle the problem of rising complications after surgery. 

“ARRC is just one small improvement. There are many other improvements that we can do before, during and after surgery to tackle this hidden pandemic,” said Professor Ludbrook. 

The upcoming Post Operative Complications Summit 2: Addressing The Hidden Pandemic will take place in Adelaide from 13 to 15 July 2023. Click here for event information and tickets.