Surgery for cancer or major organ disease represents a major shock to the body, causing inflammation, psychological distress and pain. Post-operative fatigue is manifested by muscular weakness, increased need for sleep and decreased ability to concentrate, and is correlated with:
- low preoperative physical performance
- poor nutritional status
- the degree of surgical trauma and intensity of surgical stress
- postoperative deterioration
Efforts to improve the recovery process have primarily focused on the intraoperative and post-operative periods. During the post-operative period (rehabilitation), however, it may be too late to ask surgical patients to make significant changes in their care, as patients are tired and concerned about perturbing the healing process as well as being depressed and anxious as they await additional treatments for their underlying condition.
The pre-operative period (prehabilitation) may in fact be a more opportune time to intervene in the factors that contribute to recovery beyond the physical and alleviate some of the emotional distress surrounding the anticipation of surgery and the recovery process.
The peri-operative program has been created with the intention to optimize patient's functional and mental capacities before - and after – surgery, in order to help them withstand the stress and to facilitate a smooth return to their preoperative daily activities.