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Right Arrow Patients being seen sooner and going home earlier
10 March 2006 at 13:55
Pat KeeleyListening to patients, who were anxious to return home as soon as possible, has meant a reduction in the length of stay in hospital for those having hip or knee replacement surgery and as a result patients can now been seen sooner. 

Over the last two years we have halved the length of stay from between 10 and 14 days to between 5 and 7 days (assuming no complications).  We have managed to achieve this by the introduction of a Planned Discharge Team of occupational and physiotherapists.  This team will actually take the patient home and make sure everything is in place for them and follow up patient care out in the community.

Cutting the length of time patients stay in hospital has cut the waiting times for hip and knee replacement surgery.  At the moment there are 162 patients waiting an average of 2 months with a longest wait of 6 months, compared to 386 patients waiting an average of over 3 months with the longest wait being 9 months in January 2005.
 
Patients are contacted well in advance of their operation to assess any special needs they may have once their operation has taken place.  For example, if they need special equipment at home, or help with social care once they are discharged.  Any healthcare problems such as high blood pressure are also assessed at that stage.
 
"At that time the patients are given a care plan which details not only what they can expect from the hospital, but also what the hospital expects from them," explained Pat Keeley, sister on the orthopaedic ward at Ormskirk Hospital.  "We believe patients are more psychologically prepared for the operation as they know what support is available to them afterwards and they can see the various steps on the road to recovery.
 
"Most patients then come in to hospital on the day of their operation, rather than the night before.  After the operation they come under the care of the multidisciplinary team of surgeons, nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists.  Because patients know what their role is in their recovery, they become part of the team as well."

Notes to Editors

It is planned to extend pre-operative assessments making them far more comprehensive, so reducing potential post-operative complications and in as a result the length of stay. Then two weeks before their operation, most patients are seen to make sure they are well enough for the operation. 

Pictures shows sister Pat Keeley with a patient.

Issued by Matthew King, Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust.

Enquiries to: Matthew King 01704 704714: E-mail: matthew.king@southportandormskirk.nhs.uk