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The Trauma and Orthopaedic Enhanced Recovery team
Helping hip and knee replacement patients home sooner
23 March 2018

Hip and knee replacement patients at our hospital are now able to return home much more quickly thanks to an innovative programme designed to get them back on their feet.

The enhanced recovery programme (ERP) has seen length of stay reduce from an average of five days to just over three since its introduction a year ago. Its aim is to make sure patients receive the right education before surgery while getting them up and moving shortly after their operation so that they can retain their independence and recover more quickly.

More than 750 patients have benefited from the programme so far and have provided excellent feedback on their care. At the same time, the ERP is also allowing the hospital to treat more patients by discharging them safely at an earlier stage.

Louie Horne, matron at the musculoskeletal unit, said: “We are delighted with the success of the ERP since its launch. Not only has it helped hundreds of patients to get back to enjoying their usual lives more quickly after surgery, but is also improving their experience of having a joint replacement at our hospital.

“The ERP empowers patients to help themselves while also ‘de-medicalising’ their stay by encouraging them to get out of bed and get dressed, sit out for meals and walk to the toilet, just as they would at home. Our therapy staff aim to see every patient three times a day so that they can get them back on their feet safely and effectively, which has made a massive difference and means they are better prepared for their discharge as they will not have lost any of their strength or mobility. We also make sure that any extra equipment people may need after they go home is in place at an early stage so there are no delays.

“Some patients may be surprised that we are encouraging them to get up and about so quickly, but evidence shows that staying active is a really important element of recovery after a joint replacement operation.

“Our thanks go to all of the staff who helped develop this fantastic programme, which includes anaesthetists, consultants, therapists and nursing colleagues, and to everyone who has worked so hard to make it such a success.”

Staff have changed the way they work to deliver the programme, with the therapy team now providing an 8am to 8pm service so that they can see patients more regularly and help them meet their goals.

The dedication of the staff involved in the project, including lead physiotherapist Lyndsey Smith who has driven the programme, was recognised at the hospital’s recent staff awards, where they were named as team of the year.