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Life-changing surgery lets mom and son have fun together

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Nathalie Frappier showed off the phone app that helped prepare her for bariatric surgery in January and then guide her through her recovery. The Ottawa Hospital’s Bariatric Centre of Excellence recently earned prestigious accreditation.

Six-year-old Jaycob Pigeon loves the change in his mom. Nathalie Frappier now has the energy and agility to play on the floor with her son, set up tents with blankets, and go for walks.

“Just yesterday, he told me ‘Mommy, you don’t have to sleep all the time.’ It’s completely changed my life,” said Frappier, who doesn’t need to use a CPAP machine at night any more.

The change came after having bariatric surgery in January at The Ottawa Hospital’s Bariatric Centre of Excellence. The centre recently earned prestigious accreditation from the American College of Surgeons under the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program.

“Overall, this is an amazing site with spectacular resources,” said the official accreditation letter.

“We’re the third in Canada to be accredited,” said Medical Director Dr. Amy Neville.

Many patients have complex medical needs. Bariatric surgery is not about improving aesthetics but rather to help reduce the impact of diabetes, hypertension, chronic pain and other conditions they may have.

“We’re permanently altering their digestive system, so we need to ensure they don’t end up with nutritional deficiencies, said Clinical Manager Michelle Foulkes. “We need to monitor their outcomes in the long term.”

To help support patients, the centre worked with SeamlessMD to develop an app, launched in September 2016. The popular app helps prepare patients for surgery by reinforcing education about healthy diet and exercise, what to expect at appointments, medications and more.
 

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After surgery, the app sends patients an email every day for 30 days, asking about pain, nausea, vomiting, mood, nutrition and more. Depending on symptoms, patients are directed to:

  • Consult the app’s education section e.g. how to handle nausea.
  • Call the nursing or dietitian line e.g. for unmanageable pain or dietary concerns
  • Go to the Emergency Department, e.g. for sudden chest or calf pain that could indicate a blood clot.

“It’s empowering for them to manage their own care,” said Foulkes. “The app has reduced the number of calls to the clinic.”
 

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The SeamlessMD app helps prepare patients for surgery by reinforcing education about healthy diet and exercise, what to expect at appointments, medications and more. 

Frappier loved the app and still uses the education section.

“To be asked every day how I’m doing, that was reassuring,” she said. “That relieved a lot of stress. I knew if something was wrong they would call me.”

Frappier used to wear size 26 but she was down to size 16 in mid-March. She’s looking forward to doing more fun activities she couldn’t do before with Jaycob.

“I didn’t go to the beach with him for the last three or four years, but this year I will go with him. We’ll also go on rides at the fairs. We’re going to do a lot of things.”

 
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