Dorothy Parker was tired of living with hip pain. A degenerative hip condition and problems from a previous hip surgery had left Parker immobile and in constant pain.
“I got to where I couldn’t walk and it hurt all the time,” explains the 61-year-old retired nurse.
When Parker’s physician recommended that she seek help from orthopedic surgeon Dr. Brian Edkin of the Fort Sanders Joint Center, she was skeptical.
“I was scared to get my hip redone, because my first surgery at another hospital didn’t go well,” says Parker.
But Parker was quickly impressed with Dr. Edkin.
“Dr. Edkin is a miracle worker! He found the problem with my hip and carefully explained everything he would do to correct it,” says Parker.
Parker also read a hip surgery guidebook given to her by the Joint Center staff. “It helped me know what to expect,” she says.
Dr. Edkin performed hip replacement surgery on Parker in November at Fort Sanders Regional. Parker says it was a very positive experience.
“I was so impressed with Dr. Edkin and the Fort Sanders Joint Center nurses.”
As a former nurse, Parker was quick to notice how well the staff caring for her did their jobs.
“I come from the old school of nursing,” laughs Parker. “I saw the nurses at Fort Sanders come in, always wash their hands and wear their gloves. From Sandra on nightshift, to Allison and Matt on day shift – they knew their stuff!”
Parker was also impressed with how attentive the nurses were to her pain management and her special diabetic diet needs.
“Their attitudes were so caring – I’m just amazed at the care I got from Fort Sanders Joint Center.”
Parker is now recovering at home and is looking forward to being completely mobile again.
“I’m very active and independent, so not being able to walk has been hard for me,” says Parker. “I love life and can’t wait to be out in the garden this spring tending my flowers again.”
Parker, whose children were both born at Fort Sanders Regional decades ago, says Fort Sanders is “her hospital.” “I won’t go anywhere else but Fort Sanders ever again,” she states.
Joint Center offers team approach to joint replacement
Fort Sanders Regional patients are benefiting from an innovative approach to joint replacement surgery. While knee, hip and other joint replacement procedures have been performed for years at Fort Sanders, the hospital’s innovative Joint Center program offers a new way for patients to prepare for and recuperate from those surgeries.
Doctors, nurses and physical therapists worked together to design a standard treatment plan for patients, in a newly remodeled 13-room section of the hospital.
“Our No. 1 goal is to get you well and get you home,” says Joint Center manager Tricia Denny. “We have a unified approach for all patients who come into the center, and we have had excellent results.”
The Fort Sanders Regional Joint Center primarily focuses on knee and hip replacements, although other joints can be treated as well. The standardized care combines modern surgical techniques, patient education and a more intensive therapy program that gets patients moving sooner and healing faster.
“Standardized means that every patient is getting a similar type of approach to therapy,” says Joint Center Co-Director, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Brian Edkin.
“Each patient goes through a similar protocol. The center offers a more aggressive approach to rehabilitation and advanced pain management. Part of therapy is helping patients mobilize quicker and become more at ease with their daily activities.”
The process begins with a pre-operative education class, often led by the same nurses and therapists who will see the patient following surgery. Those familiar faces before and after surgery are a boost for patient success, explains Denny.
“We talk about the surgery, what to expect afterward, how to prevent complications,” says Denny. “Patients like knowing what to expect. I tell them to bring their own clothes, because we’re going to get you up and out of that hospital gown.”
The day after surgery patients are encouraged to get out of bed for breakfast and dress in their own clothing. Patients undergo physical therapy both individually and in small groups with other patients. Just being with others in the same situation is a motivation for success, according to Dr. Edkin.
“They can see how they’re doing in relation to their neighbor,” says Dr. Edkin. “They motivate each other. If they see a nearby patient walk 100 feet, they say ‘Hey, I’m going to walk 100 feet!’ ”
From a staff standpoint, the program is also very popular because nurses and therapist get to know the patients and care a great deal about their success.
“We’re excited about it and enjoy working with patients through the whole process,” says Denny. “By the morning of the second or third day, most patients are ready to go home. “It’s amazing how great they do,” smiles Denny.