Enhanced Perioperative Care (EPC) is a model of care for surgical patients who cannot be optimally cared for in a general ward environment. This guidance is a joint publication from CPOC and the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine.
Enhanced Perioperative Care provides the best pathway for patients with monitoring, treatment or care needs which are greater than those provided on normal postoperative wards, but who are not expected to require Level 2 or 3 (critical care) interventions or staffing to meet their care needs. The aim of establishing an EPC service is to improve quality of care and safety for this group of surgical patients.
EPC facilities will also release critical care capacity previously used to support initial postoperative care for such patients; this will lead to a reduction in ‘last minute’ cancellation of inpatient surgery, for which one of the biggest risk factors is requirement for postoperative critical care.
An EPC service can protect surgical capacity during times of increased critical care activity, such as during emergency surges or winter pressures.
EPC is not for patients at immediate risk of deterioration and is not a substitute for or step down from critical care. Instead, it bridges the gap between existing ward and critical care facilities, allowing patients to be managed safely in an appropriate environment dependent on their needs.
Enhanced Perioperative Care supports the delivery of holistic, high quality care to surgical patients at increased risk of adverse outcomes. Enhanced care services should provide benefit to patients (reduced likelihood of cancellation and postoperative complications) and to systems (more efficient care, reduced length of hospital stay and reduced pressure on critical care services). Today, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are obvious benefits of creating Enhanced Perioperative Care services, to deliver the best quality care, even as Critical Care units are at or above their baseline capacity. However, these services will remain a positive legacy once we have passed through this global crisis – a clinical innovation which will provide enduring benefit to patients and the NHS for years to come.
Read the full guidance here.