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Nurse-led service helping patients avoid hospital stay after orthopaedic surgery

A new nurse-led centre for excellence for patients having orthopaedic surgery is helping to discharge some patients without overnight stays.

A new nurse-led centre for excellence for patients having orthopaedic surgery is helping to discharge some patients without overnight stays.


Sharon Branley, the first person to have a day-case knee replacement
at the new centre of excellence for orthopaedics at Wansbeck hospital 
Picture: Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Since the centre opened last August at Wansbeck General Hospital in Northumberland, 534 patients – mainly in for hip and knee replacements – have been through its doors.

Nurse practitioners leading

Wansbeck Hospital matron for orthopaedics Heather Lawson said there were no junior doctors on the ward.

'Our nurse practitioners are responsible for the day-to-day care of patients to do all the things that junior doctors would do.

'We really do push early discharge and are trying to get more patients be suitable for day care, as patients recover better in their own homes and outcomes are better overall'

Ms Lawson said all patients attend sessions with a physiotherapist prior to elective surgery to prepare them for the operation and offer information about recovery.

Same day

Retired Wansbeck Hospital matron Sharon Branley recently had a knee replacement at the organisation and managed to return home the same day, despite the complexity of the operation.

Ms Branley said: 'Everyone said it couldn't be done and that there were only a small number of hip replacements done as day cases, but a knee replacement was a whole different ball game.

'The gauntlet had been laid down and – after all – someone had to be the first.

'I know I may be the exception, rather than the rule, but with a positive attitude and determination, day case total knee replacement surgery is possible'

Success

Consultant orthopaedic surgeon Scott Muller said the hospital already has a national reputation for short length of stay following joint replacement.

'The success of Sharon's operation has only strengthened the case for these operations to be carried out as day cases, where we have suitable candidates who are physically fit, determined and have help and support at home.'

The centre also includes a new enhanced recovery unit with four beds for patients having more complex procedures and those who need intensive post-operative care.

Wansbeck Hospital – part of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust – is currently recruiting registered nurses


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