Swim England has teamed up with partners to launch a new fact sheet on how patients can benefit from swimming before and after surgery.
The organization suggests aquatic activity as an alternative procedure for perioperative care to improve the health and wellbeing of people who require special care or surgery in the country.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, England has experienced a higher demand for hospital treatment, but the limited capacity and shortage of workers have led to a significant backlog. According to the British Medical Association, over 6.84 million people are waiting for treatment as of July. Before the pandemic in February 2020, 4.43 million people were on a waiting list for care.
The accredited contributors to Swim England’s fact sheet are Honorary Clinical Professor at Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Scarlett McNally; CEO of Good Boost, Ben Wilkins; and Chair of the Aquatic Therapy Association of Chartered Physiotherapists, Jacqueline Pattman.
McNally, who is also a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon and Deputy Director of the Center for Perioperative Care, advocates for exercise as a beneficial procedure in preparing for and following surgery.
“For many people, swimming is the best form of exercise,” she says. “People who have leg problems, back problems, or obesity often move freely in water without impact. Because you don’t feel the sweat, you don’t realize what a great exercise swimming is.”
Wilkins founded Good Boost to offer accessible and affordable water-based rehabilitation programs to support musculoskeletal wellbeing. He shared evidence of patients delaying or even canceling their joint replacement surgeries because their aqua rehab sessions with Good Boost led to reduced pain and better mobility.
Pattman stands by the potential benefits of aquatic activity before and after surgery but is mindful of the challenges that need to be met to experience such advantages. Regardless of the obstacles, she affirms that the Charter Society of Physiotherapy will campaign alongside Swim England to continue pool therapy services.
The Just Swim website and the Health & Wellbeing Hub have made the new fact sheet available to the public. You can find the general fact sheet, with links to specific surgery protocols, here.
Swim England and its partners offer more health advice and protocol for swimming for conditions such as cancer, COVID-19, mental illness, asthma, diabetes, glandular fever, swimmer’s ear, epilepsy, dementia, arthritis, heart disease, and skin conditions.