What do we mean by ‘ambulatory care’?
Day surgery procedures consist of performing a scheduled surgery in less than 12 hours, without overnight hospitalisation. It should manifest within the framework of having secured an operating theatre, the ability to provide local or global anaesthesia, and the certainty of postoperative monitoring. All these requirements allow patients to leave the hospital on the same day, following their intervention. In the UK, the number of outpatient attendances at NHS increased by 3,1% between 2018-19 and the previous year1.
It was only a few years ago that it was the simpler kinds of surgeries like cataract removal, wisdom tooth extraction or arthroscopy, that were allowed as day surgeries. Nowadays, however, there is facilitation of a wider range of surgeries, including the more complex types, within the ambulatory care process. This is because of the continued progress of medical technologies, concerning, for example, the installation of a knee prosthesis, gynaecological surgeries etc. Aside from these, other procedures such as herniated disc surgeries, for which patients need a few days of recovery before leaving the hospital, are now possible for same-day execution at ELSAN Clinical Centre.2
What is the impact on those who are involved?
Ambulatory care units have many benefits for both patients and hospitals. For the patient, ambulatory care units:
- Offer the same level of quality care as available in the classical hospitalisation scenario
- Help reduce the risk of a nosocomial infection
- Improve the recovery process
- Increase the patient’s autonomy.
Meanwhile, for the hospital, ambulatory care units:
- Optimise the duration of use of operating theatres and other facilities
- Allow healthcare staff to focus and spend more time on patient care
- Limit the issue of the unavailability of beds
- Increase patient rotation.