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Get Better, At Home: Same-Day Surgical Offerings Expand at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital

When facing surgery, a certain level of anxiety is to be expected—Will the procedure work? Will I be in a lot of pain during recovery? Do I have to stay overnight in the hospital? Thanks to the work of the team at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital, the answer to that last question could potentially be “no.”

Several years ago, BWFH began offering partial knee replacement surgery and total hip replacement surgery on an outpatient basis. That means you have your surgery in the morning, spend the day recovering in the hospital and return home in the evening to continue your recovery.

The program was such a success that the team soon began offering total knee replacement surgery on a same-day basis, and now, they can offer mastectomy without reconstruction, nephrectomy and prostatectomy, all on an outpatient basis, meaning you can feel more comfortable knowing you are spending less time in the hospital and more time at home getting back to doing the things you love.

“We have been working to perfect our process for same-day total joint replacement procedures for a few years,” says Robin Kaufman, DNP, APRN, FNP-C, NEA-BC, Nurse Director for Perioperative Services at BWFH. “When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, patients were understandably more apprehensive about spending the night in the hospital. With an interdisciplinary team on board, we were able to design a workflow that allows for even more procedures to be done safely in just one day.”

In order to have a major surgery and return home the same day, everyone must work together. As a patient, if you meet the criteria for a same-day procedure, you are given detailed instructions on how best to prepare for surgery and what to expect when you go home from the hospital. Your surgery will be scheduled in the morning, allowing for time to recover in the Post-Acute Care Unit (PACU) for much of the day. There you will recover from anesthesia, receive education from your nurse and be tested by physical therapy to ensure it will be safe for you to go home.

“Before a patient even arrives, it’s made very clear to everyone on the care team that they are intended for a same-day discharge from the PACU,” says Kaufman. “The team works together to ensure the patient goes into the operating room on time and has sufficient time and support to recover from their anesthesia before preparing to go home in the evening.”

While the surgical team must stay in sync, the most important ingredient for a successful same-day discharge is you. As the patient, it’s important that you understand the process and be motivated to go home.

“Like so many aspects of our health, commitment and mind-set are important when it comes to recovering well from surgery,” explains Kaufman. “You have to want to get better and you have to want to follow the advice of your care team.”

If you’re considering one of the procedures above, talk to your specialist about the possibility of having it done on an outpatient basis.

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