Within the first 10 months of opening in February 2004, the patient-centred programme – developed by the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York – saw the average length of stay reduced from 11 to just six days at South West London Elective Orthopaedic Centre (SWLEOC), according to a paper published on its progress.
Nurses at the hospital told NT that patient stays had been further reduced since the study was carried out.
All patients at SWLEOC attend a pre-assessment session where they are given an information booklet and a DVD outlining exactly what will happen.
As soon as a patient is put on the waiting list they are sent a booklet to complete about their home situation so that any potential problems with discharge arrangements can be flagged up by the discharge team before the patient even comes into hospital.
Patients also have an individualised mobilisation plan and attend two physiotherapy sessions daily after their surgery.
Sue King, director of nursing at SWLEOC, said: ‘We used the HSS ethos of putting the patient at the centre and adapted their methods of best practice to develop a pathway for the British market.
‘The average length of stay is now down to just four-and-a-half days, and waiting times have gone down from 9–12 months to 18 weeks,’ she added.
The researchers said that infection rates at the hospital have also decreased significantly – these fell from 1% in February 2004 to just 0.16% by December in the same year.
All of the wards are single sex and have separate washing facilities. As part of infection control policies patients are encouraged to ask nurses if they have washed their hands, and the hospital also employs its own domestic staff.
‘All patients are screened for MRSA prior to admission and since we opened we haven’t had one case of cross contamination,’ Ms King told NT.
‘We are very proud that our infection rates are in the lower tenth percentile.’
Journal of Arthroplasty (2008) 23: 69–75