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Healing begins before operation takes place

12 December 2012

Healing begins before operation takes place

Patients who have undergone hip or knee joint replacements are experiencing faster recoveries, thanks to new pre-surgery classes being run at Tauranga Hospital.

Prior to surgery hip or knee joint replacement patients are invited to attend an informative class that takes them step by step through what to expect during and after surgery.

“We run an hour long session where we explain what patients can expect during their hospital admission – from drips and drains, to pain relief and early mobilisation,” said Kirsty French, Senior Orthopaedic Physiotherapist at Tauranga Hospital. “We also discuss daily goals that we will help people to work towards.”

Patients are then encouraged to ask any questions they may have and pick up equipment that they will need following their surgery.

“The class has been set-up so that patients attend close to the date of their surgery, so that the information is fresh in their minds. The relaxed atmosphere also provides an opportunity for patients to meet and talk to other people having surgery,” said French.

“We know that patients will often only remember a third of the information provided to them at a doctor’s consultation,” said Vaughan Poutawera, Orthopaedic Surgeon at Tauranga Hospital, “So these classes provide an informal setting in which they can ask questions and digest again the large amount of information given to them. The classes have worked well at Whakatane Hospital for a long time and we are trying to emulate that success here in Tauranga.”

By being more prepared patients can play an active role in their recovery. One of the key messages that the classes convey is that the more work that is put into rehabilitation the quicker the improvement.

Tauranga local David Hockly attended the informative classes before having both his knee joints replaced, “The classes were a huge help. Getting all the info so that I knew what was ahead made me feel so much better about the whole experience. I was off my crutches in four weeks.”

These classes were developed after research proved that this type of education class reduces patient anxiety before an operation, and can have a positive impact on length of stay.

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