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Prehabilitation Interventions for patients on elective surgical waiting lists

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- Prehabilitation Evidence Summaries 
Evidence Grading Key
- Methods


Prehabilitation interventions aim to enhance patients’ general health and wellbeing prior to major surgery by intervening in the preoperative period to modify behavioural and lifestyle risk factors that may have a positive effect on preoperative and longer-term outcomes. Prolonged waits for surgery can impact negatively on patients who may experience worse health outcomes. Waiting times in the NHS are currently at a record high, with areas of elective surgery experiencing particularly long waiting lists. Time spent waiting for surgery may be better utilised by preparing patients, using prehabilitation as a key intervention to improve preoperative health. 

This topic evidence summary aims to identify and explore the following questions:

  1. What prehabilitation interventions for adults on elective surgical waiting lists are effective?
  2. What features/components of prehabilitation interventions for adults on elective surgical waiting lists are important to their success?

The evidence summaries below have been compiled from 57 primary studies meeting predefined inclusion criteria. To be considered for inclusion, studies needed to assess the effectiveness of a distinct prehabilitation intervention (not part of usual pre-surgical care) and report a preoperative health outcome in adults. Studies with solely post-operative outcomes were excluded.

Based on data extracted from the sources identified, interventions have been categorised and assessed using a grading scheme, to determine those which the evidence suggests may be effective, may be ineffective and those for which the evidence is lacking, poor or inconclusive for a variety of outcomes. Nine evidence summaries were produced, examining different styles of interventions across various surgical specialities. Additionally, a report summarising the evidence from solely UK studies has also been produced.

Prehabilitation Evidence Summaries:

To view the evidence statements, please click through to the category of interest below:

Evidence Grading Key












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Acknowledgement to Public Health Wales NHS Trust to be stated.