Prehab Service

We have a dedicated Prehab Service for people living with cancer due to undergo surgery as part of their treatment.

The NUH Prehab Service offers a holistic approach to your health and wellbeing and can inspire you to adopt healthy lifestyle behaviours such as physical activity, healthy eating, stopping smoking, reducing alcohol intake and enhancing your overall emotional wellbeing.
The Service can also link you with community initiatives and opportunities in your local area. This may involve a referral to one of our partners, Self Help UK.

What happens next
You will be contacted by telephone within the next 3 working days to arrange your first appointment. Please be aware this call may come from a private or unknown number. If you miss the call please call us back on the contact details provided on the front page of this leaflet.

Your first appointment will be with one of the NUH Prehab Professionals and will last for approximately 1 hour. The appointment will include a few simple tests to determine your current level of fitness.
You will be given the opportunity to discuss any concerns you may have and you will be encouraged to set yourself personal goals.
After this initial appointment you will start with regular exercise sessions either with our specialist prehab professionals at the hospital or with our community partners in locations across the city and county.
You will usually attend 3 exercise sessions a week with the aim of improving your cardiovascular fitness, strength and balance. You may also be given a personalised exercise plan for you to follow at home.
The team may introduce you to our dedicated Self-Help UK Link Worker who can help you access opportunities and support in your local area.
You will usually be part of the Prehab Program from your initial appointment up until a few days before your surgery. This is normally for around 4-6 weeks.
Before your surgery date you will be invited to attend a follow up appointment to discuss your improvement and review your goals.
A feedback questionnaire will be sent to you approximately 3 months after your surgery.

What is Prehabilitation?

Between now and the time of your surgery, you have the opportunity to influence your recovery and outcome by keeping as healthy and active as possible. This process is called Prehabilitation.

Prehabilitation, or “Prehab”, involves preparing for your upcoming treatment, and focuses on improving your physical fitness, mental wellbeing and weight management through what you eat. Research has demonstrated that Prehab can reduce the length of time you are in hospital, reduce the risk of complications occurring and help you with your recovery afterwards.
Building physical and emotional resilience can help you to cope with your cancer diagnosis and treatment as well as benefiting your health in the long-term.
We understand that you may not have attempted exercise for sometime and that the idea may seem daunting. Patients with a low level of activity are likely to see the most benefit and our team is able to cater for all levels of ability.

Where to find us

The NUH Prehab Service is at Nottingham City Hospital. Please find transport information here - City Hospital | NUH

Your first appointment will be held in the main outpatient department. Our NUH Prehab Gym is located at the back of the St Francis Building. This is where you will need to come if you are booked into the exercise sessions at the hospital rather than the community. Parking is available immediately in front of the Prehab Gym.
You will be given clear directions on where to come at the time of booking your first appointment.

What to bring to your Prehab appointments

Please bring a list of any medications you are taking to your first appointment

  •  We would encourage you to wear loose, comfortable clothing and footwear suitable for physical activity to all your appointments and exercise sessions and please bring a small towel
  • Please bring some water with you to your sessions and if required, something to eat
  • If you require any medication for an existing condition (eg asthma, diabetes, angina) that you may need during your session – please ensure you bring this with you.
  • Please be aware there are no changing or shower facilities

Important things to remember

If you become unwell before or after your appointments, or you develop any worsening or concerning symptoms, please contact your GP or Cancer Nurse Specialist. Please also inform the Prehab Team as soon as you are able

  • Attending all of your Prehab sessions is important for you to achieve your goals and gain the most improvement. However if you are unable to attend your booked appointment or exercise session please make the Prehab Team aware as soon as possible
  • Please inform one of the NUH Prehab Team when you are given the date for your surgery (if not already known at time of initial appointment)

“Prehab was a different way of exercising. Quick, intense but really enjoyable and massively beneficial”

”My Wellbeing increased over the weeks before surgery because the exercise really helped me focus”
“I have found my energy and fitness levels improved tremendously”

Patient feedback from a similar Prehab Programme in Manchester (obtained from: Prehab4Cancer Independent Evaluation, 2022)
The above quotes highlight some of the potential benefits you could see by engaging in a Prehab Programme prior to surgery for cancer.

Exercise resources

There is lots of evidence to support physical activity at all stages of the cancer care pathway.

Research has shown it is both safe and beneficial to exercise and keep active before, during and after your cancer treatment. It can help you to manage side effects such as cancer-related fatigue.
Engaging with physical activity can improve your physical function as well as your psychological well-being.


Exercise resources:

Pelvic Floor Exercises.pdf [pdf] 663KB

2752v1_Prehab Service Home Exercise Booklet.pdf [pdf] 2MB

Core Exercises - bridge and bug.docx [docx] 4MB


Other resources:

1448_meplusrecoveryhandbook_phase3_purple_mech.pdf [pdf] 2MB