A team of over 50 medical professionals across seven divisions in the New Territories west cluster has helped some 700 high-risk chronically ill patients develop a personalized training plan and risk assessment to lower their surgery risk.

That won the New Territories west cluster cardiopulmonary exercise testing and prehabilitation team the Hospital Authority's Outstanding Staff & teams and Young Achievers Award 2023 for helping patients through to the completion of their surgical procedures last month,.

The team, formed in 2019, is the first cluster to provide cardiopulmonary exercise testing and accurate risk assessments and personalized training to improve their condition.

Services are targeted toward those elderly who have a history of chronic illnesses and are mostly provided to cancer patients.

"The testing aims to decrease surgical risks and complications after surgery," said Carmen Lam Ka-man, consultant (anesthesia and operating theater services). "Patients are able to recover more quickly and improve their quality of life."

The scheme increases patients' motivation to go through postoperative rehabilitation, thus assisting them to develop a habit of exercising.

Patients undergoing surgeries are transferred to the anesthesiology department for assessments to predict the reaction of heart, blood vessels and respiratory system during operation so that doctors can evaluate risks.

Those whose body condition is not deemed suitable yet for surgery will be advised to take prehabilitation.

They will perform exercises that boost muscles and cardiopulmonary functions for two to three weeks while being monitored.

"The treatment plan is designed according to a patient's condition, how long they have until surgery, and their progress," said Angus Chu Chun-kwok, consultant (medicine and geriatrics) at Tuen Mun Hospital.

The team is currently considering the possibilities of extending the service to day care facilities so beds can be freed up.

They also hope to include other medical professions, such as clinical psychology, to provide psychological support to patients and their family before surgery.

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