Fast Track Cancer Rehabilitation Decreases Hospital Length of Stay

Julie Silver, MD

Multimodal “fast track” or “enhanced recovery after surgery” inpatient peri-operative studies have been demonstrating impressive results when it comes to getting patients out of the hospital faster and healthier.

Interventions for this fast track inpatient cancer rehabilitation may include such strategies as preoperative counseling, intraoperative fluid restriction, use of a laparoscopic approach, immediate initiation of clear fluids after surgery, early discontinuation of urinary catheters and early physical mobilization.

In a new study coming out of Canada that retrospectively evaluated 336 consecutive colorectal patients at seven hospitals, researchers found that in hospitals that had utilized enhanced recovery after surgery strategies found that of the strategies they studied, all were independently associated with shortened length of stay.[1]

As accountable care continues to be a key part of the healthcare dialogue and Medicare fines hospitals for high readmission rates, it’s important to pay close attention to the new studies that are coming out on fast track peri-operative cancer rehabilitation interventions.

[1]Aarts MA, Okrainec A, Glicksman A, Pearsall E, Victor JC, McLeod RS. Adoption of enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) strategies for colorectal surgery at academic teaching hospitals and impact on total length of hospital stay. Surgical endoscopy. 2012;26(2):442-50. Epub 2011/10/21. doi: 10.1007/s00464-011-1897-5. PubMed PMID: 22011937.