Patients fast-tracked home in new scheme

Some Norfolk patients are getting the chance to recover at home faster thanks to a new fast-track service.

More than 150 patient have so far taken advantage of the project after having either knee or hip replacement surgery at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn.

Usually, they would need to spend between three and five days on the ward but now, if judged suitable, they get extra support prior to their operation in special physio ‘joint schools’ which make sure they are fully prepared and have a full recovery.

When asked about it afterwards, it scored an average 9/10 score.

Several departments in the hospital worked together to put the project together.

Anaesthetics Consultant Daniel Stolady, Orthopaedic Specialist Nurse, Sally Boswell and Orthopaedic Specialist Physiotherapist, Lydia Byrne were all heavily involved in setting it up. 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.”

Less time in hospital for some.

As a result of this new programme The QEH has seen an impressive drop in the average length of stay for these elective 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.