Sunnybrook is the first hospital in Canada to trial a new program, allowing eligible patients awaiting surgery the chance to stay hydrated before going into the operating room. Traditionally, patients were restricted from eating and drinking after midnight, but medical evidence no longer supports this practice. In fact, it appears patients feel better and recover more quickly if they stay hydrated.
Anaesthesiologist Dr. Claude Laflamme says compassion for patients can lead to change. “The Hydrate While You Wait initiative is a perfect example where clinicians, administrators and leaders knew there was an opportunity for improvement and joined forces to find a creative solution.”
Doug Lynch has experienced the program first hand. The 59-year-old retired TTC driver recently required surgery after suffering a fall. Here, he shares his thoughts on the whole experience.
Before coming to Sunnybrook, you were initially taken to another hospital. Tell me about that.
Everything is unknown. You don’t know if you’re going to have surgery in five hours or the next morning, depending on if you get bumped in the queue with other cases coming in, so you could go days with having nothing in your system. It’s not easy.
What happened next?
When I came to Sunnybrook, I had already gone 20 hours with nothing to eat or drink. The care team here mentioned this protocol, called Hydrate While You Wait, where you could have clear fluids, things like coffee, juice, water or Jell-O. I hadn’t had Jell-O in years, but after going that long with nothing in my system, it tasted like a steak dinner. It made a huge difference.
What impact did that have?
I felt healthier. My daughter could even see the difference in me after that. Jell-O or juice may seem like a small thing, but it can’t be good for your health to be going into surgery hungry and thirsty.
You are through your surgery now. Did this program help in your recovery?
Since water is a necessity of life, I truly believe that being able to hydrate enabled me to enter surgery with my mind and body in the best state possible. Could you imagine entering a marathon dehydrated? What do you think the outcome would be? This also led me to come through the surgery in the best possible state and set me up for success for recovery.