Enhanced Recovery Program at UNC: Improving perioperative care for patients across North Carolina

The Enhanced Recovery Program is a collaborative, multidisciplinary initiative between the departments of anesthesiology and surgery to improve the perioperative care of patients at UNC. The first Enhanced Recovery pathway was implemented in July 2014. Over the next year, it is anticipated that the Enhanced Recovery program will have reached over 1,000 patients. One of the very first patients to go through an Enhanced Recovery pathway at UNC reflects on his surgical experience one year later.

Enhanced Recovery pathways serve to standardize perioperative care using evidence based guidelines for preoperative, intraoperative and postoperative management. The department of Anesthesiology partnered with the division of Surgical Oncology in July 2014 and introduced the first Enhanced Recovery pathway at UNC. The first Enhanced Recovery pathway focused on improving the perioperative care of pancreatic cancer patients. George Braun was one of the first patients to go through this pathway.  

In addition to providing the latest and best care, the Enhanced Recovery program includes a multidisciplinary approach to recovery. Nurses encourage patients to take an active role in their own recovery. Consistent with the goals of the Enhanced Recovery program, Mr. Braun walked several miles every day of his hospital stay. He began drinking and eating normal foods shortly after his major pancreatic surgery. His pain was well controlled throughout his stay using non-opioid medications. His recovery was not only better, but it was three days quicker than patients who have traditionally undergone this same operation.  

Mr. Braun was fortunate to return quickly to his active lifestyle. He is an avid pickle ball player and enjoys working on home renovation projects. He is also quite active in his community and church. Learn more about Mr. Braun’s “wonderfully outstanding” experience with the Enhanced Recovery pathway at UNC in this short video.