News Room

Fort HealthCare Center for Joint Replacement Celebrated One Year Anniversary

Friday, October 7, 2011

FORT ATKINSON –The Fort HealthCare Center for Joint Replacement recently celebrated its one year anniversary with a complimentary luncheon for patients of the program and their guests at Central Coast restaurant in Fort Atkinson. The Center is a comprehensive service of Fort HealthCare Orthopaedic Associates; it officially began treating patients requiring hip and knee replacements in July 2010.

Beth Schmitz, RN, Joint Care Coordinator, notes, “The luncheon is not just to celebrate our successes and to show appreciation for our patients, but it is also an opportunity for us to hear directly from them and their families about what they enjoyed most about their experience with us, and for us to hear suggestions they can give us regarding any positive improvements we can make.”

Schmitz has been facilitating the joint replacement program since it began. The Center is a joint replacement “Destination Center” program, which delivers a patient-centric care model that offers a complete care delivery system beginning with community education, continuing through physician evaluation and surgical care, and extending through streamlined pre- and post-operative treatment such as physical therapy.

Thomas Nordland, MD, a surgeon at Fort HealthCare Orthopaedic Associates, states, “The concept behind the Center for Joint Replacement is it’s a start to finish, seamless, and comprehensive program that incorporates not only our working with a patient, but also therapists, anesthetists, primary medical staff, physical rehab, as well as the nurses who are helping patients through the joint replacement process as efficiently as possible.”

Nordland continues, “The benefits to patients are largely two-fold. First, because of all the education patients receive before surgery, they have a better understanding of what’s going to happen to them, and therefore we can eliminate a lot of the fear of the unknown. The other benefit is that it streamlines the process; everybody’s on the same page making our process and the patient’s experience as efficient and as pleasant as possible.”

Schmitz adds, “Our Destination Center is the only one like it in our service area. Within our hospital, we have created a special area just for the care of our joint replacement patients – an area free of hospital gowns and welcoming of friends and family. Exercise and therapy is provided in private as well as in a group setting, so our patients can support and encourage one another on the road to recovery. We are so pleased to be able to provide such a high level of care as one would find in bigger cities, right here where we all live and work.”

Schmitz continues, “What many people do not realize is that we have completely changed the concept of being a patient in the hospital. Many times when someone has surgery, they may consider themselves to be ‘sick,’ but we help our patients keep a positive mindset that they are indeed healthy individuals that will be even healthier after they recover. We help them see that their overall health is impacted by their ability to be active and enjoy life. Many times, joint pain is a huge obstacle in living life to its fullest.”

In addition to being specially-trained to provide comprehensive clinical care for patients undergoing the procedure, the joint replacement team has been hand-picked for their positive attitudes, motivational skills and their desire to deliver outstanding service.

Dawn Kubly, physical therapist, states, “Patient success has been fabulous. Patients and their families love feeling more prepared for going home after joint replacement surgery, and they are excited about how quickly they are ready to go home. Patients are so thrilled about returning to doing activities they once enjoyed, but were in too much pain to do before surgery. We even have patients come and visit us in Joint Camp weeks later to show us how great they are doing!”

Schmitz adds, “The program is phenomenal. It’s been so exciting to see patients make progress as they have. It’s uplifting to know that we have been able to help them create a better life for themselves. We also teach about wellness and encourage patients to maintain it after the whole experience that they go through.”

Schmitz, in describing the typical patient experience, states, “It is not uncommon for patients to have surgery on a Monday, and be home from the hospital – able to be up and moving around - on Wednesday of the same week. And, after a few months of physical therapy and following the doctor’s orders, all of the daily pain that they experienced before surgery is gone. Our patients are able to go back to enjoying their daily activities – pain free.”

Schmitz continues, “We also evaluate our performance on a regular basis through monthly meetings held internally here at the hospital. Our orthopedic surgeons, surgery staff, hospital administration, anesthesia, pharmacy, surgical coordinators and discharge planning, quality and integrated care department, rehab, nursing staff, and clinic staff are all at the table together. Last quarter, we reported that 92 percent of our patients went directly home after surgery (as opposed to an extended rehab facility). Over one year ago, that percentage was in the neighborhood of 72 percent. The average length of stay for patients now is 2.28 days compared to last year’s average of 3.24 days.”

Joint replacement care begins with a referral from a primary care doctor, or a visit by appointment to one of the many Fort HealthCare Orthopaedic Associates offices. Knee and hip replacement surgery takes place at Fort Memorial Hospital in Fort Atkinson, where the Center for Joint Replacement is located.

The board-certified team of surgeons at Fort HealthCare Orthopaedic Associates consists of Thomas Nordland, MD, Isidoro Zambrano, MD, James Bruno, MD and Randall Jennings, MD.

The surgeons have office hours in Fort Atkinson, Cambridge, Whitewater, Johnson Creek and Lake Mills. They provide expert care for all ages in all major areas of the musculoskeletal system, including (but not limited to) arthritis care, fracture treatment, joint replacements, minimally-invasive surgical techniques, foot and ankle care, hand and wrist treatment, and sports medicine.

To learn more about the treatments and expert care provided by any of the Fort HealthCare orthopedic surgeons, or to review physician profiles, areas of specialty, and office locations, please visit FortHealthCare.com/ORTHO. For more information about the Fort HealthCare Center for Joint Replacement, visit FortHealthCare.com/JOINT.

SIDEBAR:

On Thursday, November 17, starting at 4 p.m., Thomas Nordland, MD, with Fort HealthCare Orthopaedic Associates will be hosting a FREE informational seminar about joint pain, treatments, and the anterior approach to hip replacement surgery. Many people suffering with arthritis, hip pain, stiffness and limited hip movement can now choose minimally invasive surgery for hip replacement.

The anterior approach to hip replacement surgery allows the surgeon to reach the hip joint from the front of the hip as opposed to the side or the back of the body. This way, the hip can be replaced without detachment of muscle from the bones during surgery. The surgeon can simply work through the natural interval between the muscles. Since the muscles are left undisturbed during surgery, they do not require a healing process, reducing the overall recovery time for the procedure. 

The presentation will take place at the Fort HealthCare Orthopaedic Associates facility at 1504 Madison Avenue in Fort Atkinson. Attending the presentation will give guests an opportunity to meet Dr. Nordland, have their joint replacement questions answered, and view the facility and physical rehabilitation areas. Individuals are asked to register for the seminar by calling 920-568-5244, or online at FortHealthCare.com/Classes.

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