The Programme

The Programme

Improving your health in advance of surgery or treatment will lead to a smoother and quicker recovery and should be a more rewarding experience for you overall. Improving your physical health and wellbeing before surgery or treatment is known as prehabilitation.

The team consists of healthcare professionals (doctors, physiotherapists, administrative staff, dietitians, psychologists), exercise scientists and experts from Public Health.  For more information please see the ‘Meet our Team’ page.

Prepare yourself for surgery

Frequently asked questions about the Prepwell programme:

Why is improving my health and fitness before surgery or treatment important?

Having an operation affects your body at the time of surgery and for several months afterwards. Several common factors can reduce your body’s ability to deal with the physical stress of the operation.

Factors affecting your operation:

  • Alcohol
  • Exercise
  • Nutrition
  • Sleep
  • Smoking
  • Wellbeing

In addition, if you have been diagnosed with cancer you may undergo chemotherapy or radiotherapy before your operation. These essential treatments prior to cancer surgery can unfortunately reduce your body’s ability to cope with your operation or other treatments. The resultant effect is that you may be at an increased risk of complications following your operation or treatment, a prolonged hospital stay and problems when you leave hospital (such as reduced independence).

Fortunately there is time available before your operation or treatment to work with the Prepwell team so we can support you to reduce these risks. Some benefits can be gained in 2-4 weeks through simple lifestyle changes (e.g. increased exercise, stop smoking, reducing alcohol), however the more you work with us the more support we can provide to help lower your risks.

What does the programme involve?

If you decide to take part in the Prepwell programme a member of the Prepwell team will contact you by telephone. We will make sure you fully understand what the programme involves and that you are happy to participate.  We will need to perform an initial health assessment which will help guide the components of the programme that we believe will help best support you. We will be guided by you during this process to ensure your final programme meets your own personal goals.

Your programme may include:

  • An exercise programme.
  • Advice about how to improve your diet.
  • Support from services to help you to stop smoking or to reduce your alcohol intake if needed.
  • General advice and support to help prepare you for surgery or treatment.
  • Support for general wellbeing, reducing anxiety and improving sleep.
  • Treatment of health problems that may be identified during the initial assessment.

The programme is designed to complement, not replace, other activities and treatments that you may already be involved with or receiving.

How is the Prepwell programme delivered?

The programme can be delivered in a number of ways so we can try and ensure we are able to meet your personal needs and circumstances. Choices include:

  • At home through a website and platform called Go Well Health – you will be able to access videos and information to support exercise and other elements of your programme. You will also be able to join others in a virtual exercise class or simply ‘drop in’ to one of our coffee mornings for a virtual chat.
  • At home using information leaflets which we provide you, along with some simple exercise equipment, to guide your programme. We also offer regular telephone support to people who wish to choose this option.
  • In person at The Live Well Centre, in Middlesbrough town centre – through this option you will be able to attend exercise classes in person and get to meet other people who are in a similar to you. All of the classes are attended and supervised by our health trainers and physiotherapists to ensure your safety and wellbeing at all times.

The Live Well centre is easy to access by public transport and has a number of convenient car parks nearby for people wishing to drive.

Further details about each of these choices is available through the Patient Information Leaflet and will also be discussed during your initial telephone contact with our team.

Is it safe to participate in exercise prior to surgery?
Yes, exercise is generally safe and good for your health. The risk of harm to you whilst exercising is low. To ensure your safety the exercise programme has been designed by a team of professionals (including doctors) with a lot of relevant experience. Your initial appointment and evaluation will be important to ensure it is safe for you to exercise. We understand that some people may have health conditions which make it difficult to do certain exercises, this will be taken into account and a range of options will be available to support you to get in the best health possible before surgery. If there are any concerns about exercising from you, or us, these can be discussed privately before or at any time during the programme.
Will my operation be delayed if I decide to participate in the programme?
No, you will be invited to participate in the programme for the time you have before surgery. Your operation will NOT be delayed as a result of participation unless the hospital team caring for you feel it is in your interests. Fortunately you can make substantial improvements in your health and fitness even within a short timeframe, leading to reduced risks with surgery and longer-term health benefits. The aim of the programme is to help you achieve this in a supportive and supervised environment. The programme has the full support of all the doctors and healthcare professionals looking after you.
Will my operation be delayed or cancelled if I decide NOT to participate in PREPWELL?
No. You do not have to be involved in the programme, but we would like you to participate because you want to improve your own personal health and wellbeing before surgery or treatment. You are far more likely to enjoy the programme and see the benefits under these circumstances.