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Perioperative practice definition

The term 'perioperative practice' is integral to our clinical vocabulary, and we often assume that there is a common understanding among us all.

Perioperative practice includes the three main phases that a surgical patient will travel through. The journey begins with the ward admission in the preoperative phase. Patient admission is a critical activity in establishing patient history, drug medication, allergies, consent and the operation/procedure they are undergoing.

The intraoperative phase is the second phase, where the patient is transferred to the operating department suite. Anaesthesia may be performed on the patient, depending on the procedure being carried out. Preparation of the environment is a responsibility for all perioperative practitioners. Ensuring there are no risks, concerns, hazards or potential mishaps allows the medical team to operate and perform safe surgery.

The third phase, the postoperative phase, commences when the anaesthesia or surgical intervention has finished. The patient will take some time to re-orientate and gain full motor skills before returning to the ward destination.