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Survey of physiotherapists confirms the need for enhanced recovery pathways

2010 February 3
by webmaster

We undertook a survey of 40 out-patient physiotherapists working within southern England who attended an orthopaedic education event. The sample was not large but but was representative of out-patient physiotherapists working privately throughout Hampshire, Dorset and Somerset. We asked them to share their experiences in dealing with patients before and after joint replacement surgery and the findings illustrate a few key points to consider when implementing an enhanced recovery pathway.

Whilst both hip and knee replacement surgery are extremely successful operations, some patients do have a sub-optimal experience. We asked the physiotherapists what issues they had to deal with post-operatively in the cases when patients where not fully satisfied after their operation.

40% of the physiotherapists reported that patients were often unsure of what to do once discharged from hospital, and answers included reports of patients not knowing how to progress their rehabilitation once home, and also being anxious as to whether they were doing the right activities.

53% of the physiotherapists also reported that patients did not fully understand the likely length of recovery time required post-operatively, and comments included that patients reported that they did not have enough information pre-operatively, and some respondents reported that often patients had unrealistic expectations of what activities they could undertake.

5 physiotherapists from the sample routinely saw patients after following an enhanced recovery pathway, and interestingly none of their responses detailed problems of patients not having appropriate information pre-operative or unmet expectations post-operatively.

So what does this tell us? Well the data is far from a full research study but it is a good reflection of what is currently happening to patients after joint replacement and the good news is that the issues they report are preventable.

By implementing enhanced recovery pathways, and there by optimising the preparation of patients before their operation you can provide the correct information about their recovery, the right advice on what to do after discharge, and above all successfully manage and shape their expectations of outcomes after surgery.

What issues do you come across when patients aren’t fully satisfied following surgery and what steps are you implementing to address these? Please leave a comment and let us know your thoughts and ideas.

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