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NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is helping patients prepare for operations by creating a series of instructional surgical videos in a drive to help improve outcomes following robotic urological cancer treatment.

Patients at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) undergoing a surgical procedure for prostatic cancer called Robotic Prostatectomy (RALP) are given homework to help prepare them for the day of surgery and the weeks following, helping reduce anxiety and aid post-surgery recovery.

A series of five instructional and informative videos have been created, covering 45 minutes in total and going into full detail on the procedure, the risks, possible outcomes, and providing full information on self-care following the operation.

Normally, patients would be given face-to-face ‘surgical school’ classes, however, due to the pandemic these sessions were challenging to run. This has led to a longer length of stay for patients, with some men struggling with post-operative self-care including catheter care and anti-thrombolytic administration. Patients also felt generally more distressed and anxious before and after operations.

Since launching in May 2021, more than 50 men have taken part in the online learning courses and while in no way a replacement for face-to-face surgical clinics, early indications show improved discharge times for patients, with men also reporting a reduction in pre-surgical anxiety.

In the longer-term it’s hoped the videos will complement face-to-face sessions, and will be particularly helpful in managing urgent admission or patients travelling longer distances who may otherwise not have time to do face-to-face classes.

Dr Imran Ahmad, Honorary Consultant Urological and Robotic Surgeon at the QEUH, said:

“Prostate cancer is the most prevalent cancers affecting men in the UK, with more than 48,000 new cases diagnosed every year. RALP, one of a number of treatments, is the most common method of surgery, but that doesn’t make the procedure any less daunting for the thousands of men who undergo this procedure every year. Especially now, it’s crucial we’re able to provide them with as much support as possible to help them prepare, and then take care of themselves following the procedure. As well as the noticeable calming effect it has on patients, it’s clear that post-pandemic, anything to help reduce discharge times and improve patient outcomes should be embraced and embedded into the way we deliver healthcare.”

Frances McLinden, Director for NHSGGC’s South Sector, including the QEUH, added:

“The RALP surgical videos are a great example of how staff on the ground are adapting and changing how we care for patients during the pandemic. This innovation allows us to prepare patients for surgery in order that they are informed and supported despite the challenges COVID-19 has posed. As we move into remobilisation of our services the videos will complement face to face work and allows a range of choice for patients before they undergo this treatment for their cancer. This development will support patients across NHSGGC.”


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