An Armidale doctor has found a solution to starving patients before surgery and is being acknowledged for his innovation.
Armidale District Hospital clinical director of anesthetics David Rowe, clinical nurse specialist Michelle Widdison and their team are one of two Armidale-based finalists in the Hunter New England Health Excellence Awards.
Dr Rowe’s initiative involves patients using a glucose drink until 2 hours before their operation to maintain a normal calorie intake and help patients feel less hungry and thirsty.
Traditional guidelines required patients to withhold food for six hours prior to surgery and drink only clear liquids up until two hours before.
But Dr Rowe said that in practice, most people would eat their dinner the night before and then consumed nothing but water until the surgery.
“The problem with water is that it doesn't have any calories in it,” he said.
“We found that for most patients ... they were going for 15, 16 or 17 hours without getting any calories into them.”
Based on research from doctors in Europe, the team introduced a glucose drink that patients could consume until two hours prior to their operation.
After finding a suitable drink, they asked local pharmacies to stock the product and then advised patients how to use it.
“We did a questionnaire before we introduced the drinks and then again after,” Dr Rowe said.
“We found that our time from last calories was reduced from about 14 hours to about 5.5 hours.”
The survey also showed the rates of patients feeling hungry and thirsty rescued by about 30 to 40 per cent.
Dr Rowe said it was nice to be a finalist but hoped the added exposure would result in more hospitals using the drink.
“[Being a finalist] means the rest of the area health service can look at what we're doing and hopefully we can get this picked up at other hospitals,” he said.
Armidale Tele-Fracture Clinic doctors are also being acknowledged for their work.
Doctors Robin Diebold and Gemma Model are consulting with patients throughout the region via a Telel-link, saving patients hours of driving.
The team review x-rays in Armidale and consult with their patients on a monitor Dr Model said.
“You can imagine how frustrating it is to drive for half a day just to be seen for 3 minutes,” she said.
“Some just won't come.
“They don’t have the money, or there is no public transport."
The winners of the awards will be announced at a gala dinner on Wednesday August 24 Newcastle
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