Our Foundation is always interested in innovation and projects that support a more positive or effective experience for patients at our hospitals. We are proud to have recently invested in the Anaesthesia Block Program at Surrey Memorial Hospital (SMH). It is the only current dedicated Block Program in Fraser Health and it is helping with effective pain management for many surgical patients. 

Patients who are at high risk for both acute and chronic pain, such as breast cancer patients requiring a mastectomy, orthopedic, trauma, or reconstructive surgery patients are examples of those who may benefit from a nerve block. Often, the procedure is simply used for perioperative pain control. At SMH, nerve blocks are used for every patient who has total knee and shoulder replacements, in combination with either a spinal or general anesthetic.

This program supports Anesthesiologists to use ultrasound guidance to provide injections of local anesthetic to numb the surgical area on a patient. These procedures, known as ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia, can minimize the narcotics required, can decrease post-operative pain and reduce anesthetic side effects such as nausea. Surrey Hospitals Foundation supported this program with the purchase of a dedicated ultrasound machine.

The official Block Program was established at SMH in the spring of 2020, and is co-lead by Dr. Christine Graf and Dr. Tim Dickson (shown above), Anesthesiologists. 

“Historically, our Anesthesiologists had been performing nerve blocks for certain surgeries where the team felt there was special benefit to the patient,” explains Dr. Christine Graf, “With this new program there is now a dedicated Anesthesiologist and a dedicated block room at all times, meaning more efficiency in OR flow and higher patient satisfaction. We are grateful to the Foundation donors for this essential piece of equipment.”

This program has been widely supported by surgeons and recovery nurses at SMH, after seeing that their patients are mobilizing earlier, with less pain and overall increased satisfaction with their surgical experience. We are proud to support the program, with thanks to our donors.