Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) is an evidence-based intervention that is well-recognised across multiple surgical specialties as having potential to lead to improved patient and hospital outcomes. Little is known about sustainability of ERAS programmes.
This review aimed to describe available evidence evaluating sustainability of ERAS programmes in gastrointestinal surgery to understand: (a) how sustainability has been defined; (b) examine determinants of sustainability; (c) identify strategies used to facilitate sustainability; (d) identify adaptations to support sustainability; and (e) examine outcomes measured as indicators of sustainability of ERAS programmes.
This scoping review was conducted following the Joanna Briggs Institute’s methodology. Research databases (PubMed, Embase, CINHAL) and the grey literature were searched (inception to September 2022) for studies reporting sustainability of ERAS programmes in gastrointestinal surgery. Included articles reported an aspect of sustainability (i.e., definition, determinants, strategies, adaptations, outcomes and ongoing use) at ≥2 years following initial implementation. Aspects of sustainability were categorised according to relevant frameworks to facilitate synthesis.
The search strategy yielded 1852 records; first round screening excluded 1749, leaving 103 articles for full text review. Overall, 22 studies were included in this review. Sustainability was poorly conceptualised and inconsistently reported across included studies. Provision of adequate resources was the most frequently identified enabler to sustainability (n/N = 9/12, 75%); however, relatively few studies (n = 4) provided a robust report of determinants, with no study reporting determinants of sustainability and strategies and adaptations to support sustainability alongside patient and service delivery outcomes.
Improved reporting, particularly of strategies and adaptations to support sustainability is needed. Refinement of ERAS reporting guidelines should be made to facilitate this, and future implementation studies should plan to document and report changes in context and corresponding programme changes to help researchers and clinicians sustain ERAS programmes locally.