A MDHB registered nurse and physiotherapist review patients referred by their GPs to the orthopaedic outpatient clinic for a knee, and/or hip joint assessment. Rather than a hospital appointment, patients are seen in a community setting clinic at The Palms.
The new service aims to: improve patient satisfaction and timeliness of care; ensure most efficient use of consultant time, by only having those patients likely to benefit from surgery going on to finish a first specialist assessment; and focusing on self-management education to prevent further patient disablement, and help people live as well as possible with their condition.
Following a successful six-month pilot project last year, the clinic began on 25 January and between then and 4 May, a total of 240 patients were seen.
Of these 167 (70percent) were cleared for an orthopaedic consultant review; 65 (27percent) didn’t meet the criteria for an orthopaedic consultant review as their condition was not severe enough; and eight (3percent) did meet the criteria, but because of other conditions, needed referral back to their GP before a specialist assessment could be offered.
Of the 167 accepted for a consultant review, ten did not meet the criteria but because of their wider circumstances it was felt they would benefit from a consultant review. For instance, these people were often caregivers to family members in paid work that was being impacted by their disablement or were self-employed.
The majority of clinic patients came from Palmerston North (95), and Horowhenua (90), while 33 came from Manawatu, and 22 from Tararua.
Clinics are held on two days a week, and another day is used for staff to prepare notes for all upcoming appointments.
Operations Director of Hospital Services Lyn Horgan said: “This is another successful initiative where we have taken the clinic out of the hospital and made it available in a community setting. Feedback from patients is that they love being seen quicker in a non-hospital environment, and it also frees up time for orthopaedic consultants to do other work, while pre-assessment work is largely completed for them at the new clinic.”
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