New guidance on getting back to normal after surgery

The Royal College of Surgery (RCS) have added to their series of guidelines on what to expect following routine operations. The online ‘Get Well Soon’ guidance advises patients on when and how they can expect to return to a normal routine, including work, after the most common surgical procedures. The guidance is based on best practice and offers broad guidelines for people who have not had any complications.

The original ‘Get Well Soon’ series was produced in 2008 covering a number of common surgical procedures, and an additional nine were published on 24th March 2011. The leaflets fill a current information gap that many patients experience following an operation and aim to give sound advice on what to expect from their recovery. The guidance is available on the RCS website (www.rcseng.ac.uk/patient_information/get-well-soon).

The guidance advises individuals to seek advice about possibly doing lighter duties in the initial stages of the return to work. It also gives advice on driving and general wellbeing, and includes a ‘recovery tracker’ so individuals can chart their expected recovery from post-op through to their return to work.

Clearly employers will need to be involved in this process. A fully-fledged occupational health department may be something only enjoyed by larger companies, but the Health for Work Adviceline (www.health4work.nhs.uk – 0800 0 77 88 44) is a free service for companies employing fewer than 250 staff. It connects managers to fully qualified occupational health nurses and advisers who will outline a clear plan of action with employers detailing how to best address issues. The Adviceline advisers can also signpost you to support networks and other sources of information available to you and your business.

Employers taking a proactive approach to helping employees back to work after a period of absence will reduce any risk of complications.

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