Same day joint surgery program welcomes first patients

Same day joint surgery program welcomes first patients
Patients needing major joint replacements will be able to rest easy in their own beds sooner thanks to a new pilot program at Grafton Base Hospital.

The new same day hip and knee replacement program is the only one of its kind in Northern NSW Local Health District, allowing patients to have their surgery and return home the same day when clinically safe and appropriate.

Advanced surgical and anaesthetic techniques and better post-operative pain management have reduced the length of stay for patients having major joint replacements, but it’s still around four to five days in most cases.

Dr Sam Martin, orthopaedic surgeon and program lead, said the pilot program is based on research that suggests patients can have successful outcomes given the right care and support in their own home, without the added stress of a hospital stay.

“There is compelling evidence that for many patients, a day stay joint replacement is safe with equal or better results compared to a longer hospital stay, in terms of the patient’s return to function,” Dr Martin said.
“We also know that getting moving again soon after surgery is shown to reduce the recovery time for patients.
“Within 3-4 hours of the surgery, under the care of our physiotherapy team, patients can begin moving, and will remain in hospital for at least 6 hours before they go home.
“This is a significant achievement for a small regional centre like Grafton.”
Susan Robertson Halil, Chris Gulaptis, Sandy Van Veluewen, Dr Sam Martin

L-R: Susan Robertson Halil, Chris Gulaptis MP, Sandy Van Veluewen and Dr Sam Martin.

“Patients will be supported through telehealth and face-to-face specialist care to review pain management and wound recovery, and patients also have regular physiotherapy sessions in the weeks following their surgery,” Dan Madden, General Manager Clarence Health Service said.

“This program is really the culmination of an outstanding team effort, from surgeons and anaesthetists, to nursing staff, and allied health staff who support the patients before and after surgery.”

Many aspects contribute to a successful day stay total joint replacement, including a streamlined preoperative physiotherapy and education program, a focused operating theatre unit, tailored anaesthetic and surgical techniques and nursing by staff skilled in shorter stay surgery. The pilot is expected to run for six months.

The 2019- 20 budget for Northern New South Wales Local Health District was $875 million, this is an increase of $37 million on the previous financial year’s annualised budget.

Top image: Patients Susan Robertson Halil and Sandy Van Veluewen are the first to receive surgery through the new program.

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