Goodbye, joint pain hello, new knee!

November 28, 2018
Goodbye, Joint Pain

Alice’s “terrific” experience with knee replacement surgery

After suffering with knee troubles for a while, Alice Jolson reached a breaking point while she was on a cruise with her husband. “I was sitting on a chair and couldn't get up because the pain in my leg was so bad,” she says.

When she returned home, she went to see her orthopedic doctor, Nicholas Sama, MD. He’d helped her manage her knee pain with other methods, including cortisone shots, but those were no longer working. They talked about knee replacement surgery, and she decided that was “the way to go.”

Jolson says the team at Wellington Regional Medical Center put her at ease right away. To help prepare for her procedure, she attended a preoperative class at the hospital. “It was wonderful,” she says. “They explained everything they were going to do and made me feel like they really were going to go out of their way to make things comfortable for me,” she says. “It was just such an easy process it was amazing.”

She experienced this same high level of care and attention when she went to the hospital for her surgery. “I can’t say enough nice things about Dr. Sama, and the nurses were fabulous. Also, Joe from Dr. Sama’s office did a wonderful job taking care of me.”

Jolson says one thing that really stood out when she woke up from her procedure was that she had “virtually no pain.” Dr. Sama explains that she benefited from a new pain management protocol that provides an injection during surgery as well as medications administered afterward. Consistent with best practices, the staff helped her get on her feet after surgery and start her recovery right away. “The physical therapy was amazing,” she says.

Today she can enjoy being active again, worry-free. “Everything with the surgery was terrific, and the hospital was wonderful,” she says. From start to finish, the team at Wellington Regional reassured her every step of the way. “The experience was so much better than I had anticipated,” she says.

We've earned gold status for joint replacement!

Following best practices can make a big difference when it comes to joint replacement surgery. As a demonstration of Wellington Regional’s commitment to meeting requirements and exceeding expectations for quality of care, the hospital has earned the Gold Seal of Approval® for its total hip and total knee replacement programs from The Joint Commission, the premier healthcare quality improvement and accrediting body.

“The goal is to create a multidisciplinary program that starts before patients come in and continues after they go home,” says Stacy Morast, RN, director of surgical and orthopedic services. Meetings are held regularly to discuss outcomes, processes and ways to improve the patient experience. Best practices include:

  • A multidisciplinary approach. A whole team of providers collaborates to support patients’ optimal care, from the orthopedic surgeon to nurses, pharmacists and physical therapists. While patients are in the hospital, the team participates in daily rounding to address any special requests or concerns.
  • Pre-op joint class. Knowing what to expect and how to prepare can help patients feel more reassured about surgery and make the most of their recovery.
  • Multimodal pain management. Using a combination of different medications starting preoperatively can minimize pain in the hospital and throughout recovery.
  • Early mobility. Getting patients up right after surgery and into physical and occupational therapy at the hospital can help to advance recovery and support optimal outcomes.

“We believe joint replacement is much more than just a surgical procedure,” says Dr. Sama, there’s also a great focus on preparation and recovery.

Setting up for success at pre-op class

What will joint replacement surgery entail? How can you prepare? What will the recovery be like? You can learn it all at the pre-op class held regularly at Wellington Regional for patients preparing for a hip, knee or shoulder replacement. During the class, patients meet hospital staff who will be part of their medical team and learn about the activity that will be required in rehab, which can help them to be more successful. Friends, spouses and family members are also invited to attend for support.

Individual results may vary. There are risks associated with any surgical procedure. Talk with your doctor about these risks to find out if surgery is right for you.