A person who's jittery before a surgery might be told by a relative or friend to try to forget about it.
But recent studies and work at hospitals across the country suggest people, particularly older patients, should do just the opposite. To save money and hasten recoveries, evidence shows, they should mentally and physically prepare to be on the operating table.
"You train if you go on a hike or run a 5K race," said Dr. Michael Englesbe, a professor of surgery at the University of Michigan. "But we never train our patients for their operations."
At the University of California San Francisco's Surgery Wellness Program, older patients gear up for surgery by meeting with dieticians, physical and occupational therapists. The program will soon launch a digital app called Prehab Pal, in which algorithms prescribe older patients a plan to prepare for their surgery.