More than 150 people across West Norfolk are getting home faster after hip and knee replacements.
The patients at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn get the chance to move their limbs faster and get extra help to be supported at home within 24 hours rather than the usual three to five days on a ward.
If staff think patients are suitable for the scheme, they get extra outpatient support before their operation in some ‘joint schools’ run by physiotherapists which means they are fully prepared for what is going to happen and it aids their recovery.
And those who have been through it have given the project an average 9/10 score, with more to follow.
The scheme, which also frees up bed space, has seen teams across the hospital working together to deliver it.
Anaesthetics Consultant Daniel Stolady, Orthopaedic Specialist Nurse Sally Boswell and Orthopaedic Specialist Physiotherapist, Lydia Byrne have been instrumental in implementing this improvement for elective patients. Daniel said: “We know patients recover better at home, and for many who have undergone this surgery being able to move around early helps their recovery.
“We carefully select patients who are suitable for the new programme to ensure families are ready for them to return home and that they know what to do if they are at all concerned about their recovery. Our team is in regular contact to check on their progress and wellbeing.
“The response from patients and their families has been fantastic, which is just what we wanted to hear and has really pushed the team to drive this project forward.
“This is a real multi-team success and has been part of a meticulous planning process across lots of different hospital departments; from our anaesthetists, surgeons and theatre team, to our radiographers, physiotherapists and ward staff.
“We have all had to embrace new ways of working together after the operation, changing shift patterns to ensure we can support patients to get out of bed on the same day of their operation, as well as ensuring all our paperwork and medication is ready to collect so we send people home prepared and comfortable to move forward with their recovery.”
As a result of this new programme The QEH has seen an impressive drop in the average length of stay for these patients – down to 1.2 days for knee replacements and 2.1 for hip replacements in October.
Now half of patients in for elective surgery are discharged within 24 hours so they can recover at home, with a team making regular checks on their progress post operation.
Dr Rebecca Martin, Medical Director, commented: “This is a fantastic example of our dedicated teams pulling together to make improvements for our patients. We’re receiving excellent feedback from those undergoing this surgery, so I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone involved for working so hard to make this positive change.”