Events Recognition

SPAR Program Receives 2022 QUEST Award

SPAR Program QUEST Award with backdrop of Barnes-Jewish Hospital

The “Surgical Prehabilitation and Readiness” (SPAR) program is an ongoing initiative at Washington University School of Medicine. Rather than focusing on recovery and rehabilitation after a procedure, “prehabilitation” prioritizes care and physical therapy before the patient undergoes their surgery. This process can better prepare a patient and optimize health for a major operation, especially in older patients undergoing invasive procedures. Recently, the program won a 2022 Quality, Excellence and Safety Team (QUEST) Award from Barnes-Jewish Hospital for its success with preparing patients for surgery. 

What is SPAR? 

Washington University Surgery launched the SPAR program to prehabilitate and improve the health outcomes of its patients. Prehabilitation can be compared to training for a physical activity. Athletes practice to prepare their bodies for the sport they will engage in. For similar reasons, preparation for a surgical procedure readies the patient for their operation and for recovery.  

Dominic Sanford, MD, MPHS, of the Section of Hepatobiliary-Pancreatic and Gastrointestinal (HPB-GI) Surgery leads the SPAR program. Sanford and his team have found that interventions through the SPAR program can improve patient outcomes, especially in complex procedures on older patients who often have greater obstacles to recovery. 

“In surgery, the preoperative time period is an ideal time to intervene in order to improve a patient’s condition prior to surgery,” says Sanford. “With that in mind, SPAR targets patients over the age of seventy who are undergoing in-patient surgery.”  

The SPAR program is a holistic mind and body approach, as SPAR RN Coordinator Melanie Koenen explains: “All patients that are enrolled in SPAR focus on four domains: physical activity, respiratory fitness, nutritional optimization and mindfulness.” This allows patients to be comfortable with and understand the surgical process as well as what to expect before, during and after operation. 

The 2022 QUEST Award 

The quality and safety of care at Washington University is upheld by the exemplary teamwork of physicians and staff throughout the institution. To recognize the tireless efforts of embodying and improving on these goals in medicine, the annual QUEST Awards are held to celebrate those throughout the medical campus who have gone above and beyond the standards of excellence. These awards were designed to acknowledge outstanding accomplishments to improving quality of care.  

This year at the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Employee Recognition Ceremony, the SPAR program was one of many teams honored with a QUEST Award. Data on patients who undergo SPAR has demonstrated the positive outcomes of prehabilitation in surgical outcomes. SPAR has significantly lowered mortality rates, reduced the length of stay in hospitals post-surgery, and decreased the need for discharge to facilities after leaving the hospital. These outcomes are impressive in terms of patient impact and represent the types of improvements in care highlighted by the QUEST Awards.  

Contact WashU About the SPAR Program 

For general requests or to refer a patient to the SPAR program, please fill out one of the forms below and a member of our SPAR team will be in contact. 

Patients can request information about SPAR through this digital form.