Orthopaedic surgery, such as a total knee replacement, is effective in removing the pain of arthritis and giving patients the freedom of full movement.
Yet a lot of the success of the surgery relies on patients being confident about what needs to be done after their operations in order to achieve full mobility. Patients are usually given physiotherapy after their operation and advice on exercises to do when they are discharged from hospital, with a follow-up at six weeks.
However, the physiotherapy team at Emersons Green NHS Treatment Centre in Bristol listened to their patients and, as a result, have trialled an additional three-week knee clinic – with positive results.
Mini Jacob, physiotherapy manager, said: “After orthopaedic surgery it is important to get patients moving as safely and as quickly as possible. The period between leaving hospital and returning for the first follow-up is crucial, because this is when patients really take their recovery into their own hands. We would have discharged them having gotten them mobile and taken them through the exercises they would need to do at home, and we are at the end of the phone if they have any questions.
“We were running six-week post-operative knee clinics, which is the usual timescale for total knee replacement surgery and the practice across the board. However, we were finding that for some patients this was too long a gap after discharge and that they had forgotten the exercises we had given them, or had not been able to do them as we had advised. By getting patients in sooner we have been able to catch any issues early and help to build their confidence towards a full recovery. They then come back to us at six weeks for more support and monitoring of their progress.”
So far around 100 knee replacement surgery patients have attended the three-week knee clinic at Emersons Green NHS Treatment Centre, where they have been able to refresh their memory about exercises, speak to the physiotherapy team about any concerns, and compare notes with fellow patients.
Physiotherapist Lauren Whale talks about knees and the enhanced patient recovery programme at Emersons Green NHS Treatment Centre here
The new clinic has been well-received by patients. Their comments have included:
- “Very good and informative. Good detail and demonstration. Helped being shown how to do the exercises and not just reading about them. Made you feel confident. First class.”
- “Individual attention from two professionals.”
- “It was good to have this session. It was very informative and put my mind at rest.”
- “Hearing that a lot of my issues are normal. More confident of my progress. Good stuff.”
- “Very informative and good to talk to others at the same level as to how they are coping.”
- “Information on exercises. Ability to see doctor about pain relief and swelling.”
Mini added: “We were delighted by the 100 per cent positive comments we received from patients. We have now added the three-week clinic to the existing six-week one and patients are finding it really reassuring.”